Eta Aquarid 2021 meteor shower: How to watch

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning, giving curious viewers the opportunity to see debris from the famous air-and-space

The second spring meteor shower of the year is expected to produce around 30 meteors per hour traveling at speeds of about 148,000 mph into Earth’s atmosphere, according to air-and-space.

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As Halley’s Comet – which made its last trip through the air-and-space” target=”_blank”>inner solar system<, it leaves behind a dusty trail. 

When the rare comet approaches the planet-earth” target=”_blank”>Earth’s orbit< in October.

The Eta Aquarids are visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the pre-dawn hours, though the Southern Hemisphere has a better view of more meteors. 

The Northern Hemisphere, however, typically has an hourly rate of only 10 meteors, as the constellation of Aquarius – which can be traced to the shower’s radiant point that nearly aligns with the star Eta Aquarii — is higher up in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere.

NASA highlights that in the Northern Hemisphere, Aquarid meteors can be seen as “earthgrazers” that skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon and leave long-lasting trails.

Halley’s remnants – pieces of dust and ice — will appear as incandescent streaks, catching light in the atmosphere.

An Eta Aquarid meteor streaks over northern Georgia on 29 April 2012. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/B. Cooke

An Eta Aquarid meteor streaks over northern Georgia on 29 April 2012. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/B. Cooke
(NASA)

To observe the celestial spectacle, ideal conditions include a dark sky – the air-and-space will be in a waning crescent phase – a late bedtime and a viewing spot away from planet-earth.

However, while meteor watchers don’t need to know where radiants are to watch a meteor shower, latitude is important. 

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Space.com notes that from North America, there are practically zero meteors per hour at 40 degrees north latitude, including major cities like new-york-city” target=”_blank”>New York< and philadelphia” target=”_blank”>Philadelphia< was discovered by Edmund Halley in 1705 but EarthSky reports that it is believed to have been recognized for millennia. It can be seen from Earth around every 76 years.

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