Meteor Watch

David North

We have two meteor showers this month, both running for quite some time. So any evening you may get to see some activity. The first shower may be disappointing for us northerners, but the second can be a real barn burner. One year I saw three big boomers on this night...

The Eta Aquarids are the outbound (post-perihelion) particles of Halley's comet. This shower is active from mid-April through the end of May with most activity occuring May 3 through May 10.

The Eta Aquarid peak is between 3 am May 5 to 4 am May 6. This year the moon is not going to be very coopertive during the entire period of most activity.

This shower is not well seen from the Northern Hemisphere due to the low radiant altitude. For latitudes around 33 deg North, observations should begin near 2:30 local time. In years with clear dark skies, you would be able to see about 15-20 meteors/hour.

On these nights, an observer may see nearly 60 meteors per hour at shower maximum from tropical latitudes, decreasing to invisibility as you approach 50 degrees north latitude.

From the Southern Hemisphere the Eta Aquarids are by far the strongest annual shower at maximum.

Three Letter Shower Code: ETA

The Sagittarids are made up of the former Scorpiids, Ophiuchids and other Sagittarid radiants. These are ecliptical radiants combined as one. They take the place of the Virginids on April 15.

This year for peak night (May 19-20), the moon will be somewhat favorable by being a couple days shy of Quarter moon phase. Noted for many fireballs!

Three Letter Shower Code: SAG

David North; last updated: October 03, 2007 Prev Next