Eta Aquariid meteor shower to light up Australian skies. Here’s how you can watch it

Australian star gazers are in for a treat this weekend with the Eta Aquariid meteor shower set to light up our skies.

Anyone in Australia can view the meteor shower this weekend (May 6-10), as long as the skies are clear, on Saturday or Sunday morning, with the first visible from about 1.30am and then increasing in frequency just a couple of hours before sunrise.

See the meteor shower explained in the video player above

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While the shower peaks on the weekend, you might also be able to see it on Friday morning and early next week.

Scientists say it will remain active until May 27.

The Eta Aquariids, named after the Aquarius constellation, derive from the debris of Halley’s Comet, which is visible from earth every 76 years, according to NASA.

The last time the comet was spotted in our sky was in 1986, and it won’t appear again until 2061.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will peak early in the morning. Credit: Diana Robinson/CNN

While the Eta Aquariids are visible from both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, they are best viewed in the Southern Hemisphere where the meteors will rise the highest in the night sky, according to NASA.

The Eta Aquariids are known for how fast they travel, which can reach a rate of 148,000 miles per hour (238.182 km/h), according to NASA.

The meteors will produce glowing “trains” that remain in the sky for several seconds after the meteor has streaked through the sky.

More showers to watch out for

After the Eta Aquariids, another nine meteor showers will illuminate our skies in 2022. Here’s a list of the remaining showers to watch for this year:

  • Southern delta Aquariids: July 29 to 30
  • Alpha Capricornids: July 30 to 31
  • Perseids: August 11 to 12
  • Orionids: October 20 to 21
  • Southern Taurids: November 4 to 5
  • Northern Taurids: November 11 to 12
  • Leonids: November 17 to 18
  • Geminids: December 13 to 14
  • Ursids: December 21 to 22

Lunar and solar eclipses

There will also be a total lunar eclipse visible in Australia in 2022. It will be on display for those in Australia, Asia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 6.01pm AEDT and 11.58am AEDT.

At lunar eclipse can occur only during a full moon when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes into Earth’s shadow.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but only blocks some of its light.
Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but only blocks some of its light. Credit: Getty Images

Earth casts two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow, and the umbra is the full, dark shadow.

When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it darkens, but it won’t disappear.

Sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere lights the moon in a dramatic fashion, turning it red – which is why this event is often referred to as a “blood moon”.

Depending on the weather conditions in your area, the moon may appear rusty, brick-coloured or blood red.

This color variability happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it onto the moon.

full moons

People watch the “Super Flower Blood Moon” rise over the Pacific Ocean at Bondi Beach in Sydney in 2021. There are eight full moons still to come this year.
People watch the “Super Flower Blood Moon” rise over the Pacific Ocean at Bondi Beach in Sydney in 2021. There are eight full moons still to come this year. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

There are eight full moons still to come in 2022, with two of them qualifying as supermoons. Here is a list of the remaining moons this year, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:

  • May 16: Flower moon
  • June 14: Strawberry moon
  • July 13: Buck moon
  • August 11: Sturgeon moon
  • September 10: Harvest moon
  • October 9: Hunter’s moon
  • November 8: Beaver moon
  • December 7: Cold moon

– With CNN

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