This week, as long as the skies are clear, stargazers will have an opportunity to hit a double jackpot in the form of the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower reaching its peak over May 5 and 6 and the Super Flower Full Moon reaching full illumination on May 7, at 06.45 in New York City, NY.
Of course, in some areas of the world, full illumination of the moon will be during the daytime but still a beautiful sight to observe with clear skies. Check the best time and date in your town or city.
While millions of people worldwide are still hunkering down during the pandemic, they are rediscovering the little things they may not have had time for during the daily grind of commuting and work.
By now, the spring cleaning is done and time is being spent playing games, reading books, cooking, baking, gardening, art, sewing, and watching the stars. Older family members will recall nights when they used to lay on the lawn trying to be the first to spot Sputnik in orbit, see shooting stars, and learn about the stars and planets in our galaxy.
In those days, there was often no need to travel far to get away from the glow of city lights, but at this time we don’t necessarily have the same freedom to travel to a wide open space, where the sky is deep and dark, especially to view the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. Although the shower started April 19 and starts fading towards May 31, it reaches its peak on Tuesday, May 5.
The Eta Aquarids is visible from across the globe but usually gives the Southern Hemisphere a particularly good show. According to a report by Forbes, Eta Aquarids shower is estimated to produce about 60 meteors per hour, unfortunately, this year’s showers may fade against to brilliant Super Moon in its final days before reaching full illumination on May 7, but the showers are usually at their best in the darkest hour, before twilight, which means the Super Moon might not have shown its face yet to steal the show.
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My image from Monday mornings 2019 Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower 2019, the slow moving streaks to the far right appear to be the international space station. Taken at the cape cleveland salt flats. 🛰🌠 #townsvilleshines #supportlocaltownsville #shoplocaltownsville #canonau #nationalgeographic @natgeotravel #billybluephoto #etaaquarid #etaaquarids #etaaquarids2019 #etaaquaridsmeteorshower #iss #natgeotravel
If all else fails, find a ‘moon shadow’ such as a tree, mountain, or building casting a shadow from the moon light to sit under, check the radiant, altitude and direction from your location then switch off all lights and electronics and relax. Your eyes should adjust to the darkness in about 15-20 minutes and it will be a lot easier to spot the meteors.
The Eta Aquarids shower is named after the brightest star, Eta Aquarii, in the constellation of Aquarius, which is the direction from where the shower seems to come from. Both the Eta Aquarids and the Orionid Meteor Shower in October are created by debris from the Comet Halley. Earth passing through Halley’s path of space dust causes the spectacular firework displays. Halley takes approximately 76 years to complete its revolution around the sun and won’t be visible from Earth again until 2061.
Although this week’s Flower Super Moon is the last Super Moon of 2020, we can look forward to some special celestial events in June, starting with a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on 5-6 June and an Annular Solar Eclipse on 21 June.