Eta Aquarids this weekend: will we be able to see the meteor shower in France?

Eta Aquarids this weekend: will we be able to see the meteor shower in France?
Eta Aquarids this weekend: will we be able to see the meteor shower in France?

Up to fifty shooting stars per hour may be visible in the starry sky from Sunday May 5 to Monday May 6. But will the French be able to enjoy the show? Answer in this article.

They are coming back for another year. The shower of shooting stars Eta Aquarides, which had already lit up the sky in May 2023, will be visible again from April 19 to May 28, 2024with a peak this weekend, during the night of Sunday May 5 to Monday May 6.

Astronomy enthusiasts are already preparing their telescopes, or simply their eyes because the phenomenon will be visible to the naked eye. They’ll have to set their alarm because the show will just start before dawnindicates the site Starwalk.

Where can we see shooting stars?

Not everyone in the world will be able to enjoy the shower of shooting stars: according to the International Meteor Organization (IMO), only the southern hemisphere, equatorial regions and countries located near the 40°N latitude circle which crosses Europe will be able to view the event. “The rain is some of the best for southern observers. Useful results can be obtained from locations up to about 40° N latitude”, says a report. This concerns for example the islands of Menorca in Spain, Sardinia and Puglia in Italy. France is unfortunately not involved.

What will we see in the sky?

The meteors of the Eta Aquarids are less numerous than the Lyrids, but observers will still be able to admire between forty and fifty shooting stars per hour split the night sky. This year could still be an exception in terms of intensity: according to the American Meteor Society, “this shower will be quite strong in 2024 due to particle interactions with the planet Jupiter”. Another bonus: that night, the moon will not be full.

Another meeting should be noted. In addition to the peak, in 2024, the IMO recommends to post May 3 around 7 a.m. (French time), as there may be increased activity at that time.

According to Starwalk, the Eta Aquarid meteors will emerge from the same point located in the constellation Aquarius. “This point is called the radiant of the meteor shower.” This radiant is located almost at the level of the faint star Eta Aquarii, which also gave its name to the meteor shower.

Where do the Eta Aquarid meteors come from?

Most meteor showers come from comets. Eta aquarides is no exception to the rule: its origin is Halley’s comet, or more scientifically, 1P/Halley. Besides, did you know that? The Orionids, at the end of October, also come from this comet!

When they travel in their orbit, they leave behind dust particles and rocks. The Earth, revolving around the Sun, crosses the orbit of this comet every year at almost the same time. When debris enters the Earth’s atmosphere, their disintegration reveals a luminous thread in the sky.

Another shower of shooting stars to see in May!

One piece of good news leads to another, a second meteor shower is active this month. The Lyrid Eta are observable between May 3 and May 14with a peak on May 8. These shooting stars seem to come from the constellation Lyra. They are much less regular than the Eta Aquarids, with a frequency of around 3 meteors per hour.

You may also be interested in:

⋙ Sky: 10 questions to help you find your way easily

⋙ How to look at the stars in the sky?

⋙ How big are shooting stars?

⋙ Why don’t shooting stars make noise?

⋙ Is there a connection between a meteor and a meteorologist?

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