How to Watch the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

Just before dawn on May 5th the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will begin, and last through the 6th – but good viewing will be possible for several days.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere or near the tropical regions of the northern hemisphere, you’ll have premium visuals for this celestial event. Regardless, no special equipment is required for viewing – but try to give yourself at least an hour of gazing time for watching any meteor shower, as meteors tend to come in spurts that are interspersed by lulls.



Photography by Justin Ng

The Eta Aquarid are particles of the famous Halley’s comet, and have been given their moniker because they seem to radiate from a certain point in front of the constellation Aquarius, and this point on the sky’s dome is called the radiant of the meteor shower, which nearly aligns with the faint star Eta Aquarii…hence, the meteor shower is named in honor of this star.

According to EarthSky.org:

Halley’s Comet is the source of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Every year, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Halley’s Comet in late April and May, so bits and pieces from this comet light up the nighttime as Eta Aquarid meteors. This shower is said to be active from April 19 to May 20, although Earth plows most deeply into this stream of comet debris around May 5 or 6.

The comet dust smashes into Earth’s upper atmosphere at nearly 240,000 kilometers (150,000 miles) per hour. Roughly half of these swift-moving meteors leave persistent trains– ionized gas trails that glow for a few seconds after the meteor has passed.

Our planet also crosses the orbital path of Halley’s Comet at the other end of the year, giving rise to the Orionid meteor shower, which is usually at its best in the predawn hours on or near October 21.

To learn even more about the Eta Aquarid, and to calculate which time is best for you to view this heavenly event – be sure to click here for more information relating to timezones, and locations.


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