Last month, the skies glowed with the first supermoon of the year. If you’ve missed such a stunning view of the night sky, then here is good news for you. There’s another upcoming meteor shower this month of May, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower which will occur in the pre-dawn sky of May 6 and 7, 2021.
The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) Astronomical Diary, the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower occurs each year as a result of the Earth’s passing close to the orbit of Halley’s comet twice a year. The meteors will radiate within the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer, specifically from one of its brightest stars, the Eta Aquarii.
Moreover, NASA said that Eta Aquarid meteors are known for their speed. Fast meteors such as the Eta Aquarid can leave glowing trains which may either last for several seconds or even minutes.
Best Time to Watch the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
About twenty (20) or more meteors per hour may be seen in the pre-dawn sky from areas in the Northern Hemisphere like the Philippines. However, the radiant of the meteor shower will virtually lie on the celestial equator and is more favorable to southern hemisphere viewers.
Based on PAGASA’s Astronomical Diary, it is best to observe the meteor shower only a few hours before dawn.
How to View the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
Planning to witness the meteor shower lighting up the pre-dawn sky of the 6th of May? NASA suggests that you look for an area that is well away from city or street lights when viewing the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.
If you’re wondering which part of the sky to look at, you can take advantage of mobile apps that will guide you in the right direction. Search for the Aquarius constellation, or in some applications like Sky Map, you can just look up for Eta Aquariids and it will show you where to look up. Heh.
The agency also advised viewers to lie flat on their back with feet facing east and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and by then you will start to see meteors.
Prioritize Your Safety While Viewing the Meteor Shower
Since ECQ and GCQ are still being implemented in different areas around the Philippines due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, better ensure your safety while viewing the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower.
For now, as much as possible, better stay at home and try to watch the meteor shower from your window or your balcony. You may even watch it from your backyard. Nonetheless, may you and your family be able to watch the meteor shower safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.