Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

May 5, 2022 all-day America/Chicago Timezone

In 2022, the most Eta Aquariid meteors will likely rain down in the hour or two before dawn on May 5. The waxing crescent moon will be very new (only 15% illuminated) and will gracefully set around midnight to give you perfect darkness. The broad peak to this shower means that some meteors may fly for a few days before and after the predicted optimal date. The Eta Aquariids have a somewhat broad maximum. You can watch the shower the day before and after the predicted peak morning. The shower favors the Southern Hemisphere and is often that hemisphere’s best meteor shower of the year.

The radiant comes over the eastern horizon at about 4 a.m. local time; that is the time at all locations across the globe. For that reason, you’ll want to watch this shower in the hour or two before dawn, no matter where you are on Earth. In the southern half of the U.S., 10 to 20 meteors per hour might be visible in years when you have a dark sky – like 2022. Farther south – at latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere – you might see two to three times that number on a dark, moonless night. Meanwhile, at northerly latitudes – like those in the northern U.S. and Canada, or northern Europe – meteor numbers are lower for this shower.

The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.