This year, the conditions are perfect for viewing the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. If you’ve been asking, “How do I see the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower?” then read on!

This year, it will be a New Moon which means it will be lovely and dark to see bright and faint meteors.

The Eta Aquarids are active from 19th April to 28th May, peaking on 6th May. It’s predicted that there will be up to 30 meteors per hour at the peak of activity. It’s worth trying to see this meteor shower on the nights either side.

When and where to look:

The peak of the meteor shower can be seen from the evening of 6th May to the early morning of 7th May. Look near Saturn in the east for the radiant point of this meteor shower.

Do I Need a Telescope to see a Meteor Shower?

You don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see a meteor shower. It’s a great time to gather with friends, roll out your favourite picnic rug, pack the drinks and snacks, and start counting how many “shooting stars” you all see!

It’s best to view a meteor shower under a dark night sky. Most meteors will be quite faint so darker surroundings will make it easier to see them.

You might consider heading out to a dark sky location at one of WA’s Astrotourism Towns.

If you’re an astrophotographer, it is an excellent opportunity to image meteors over some of WA’s iconic landscapes. Where are WA’s Astrotourism Towns? Fingers crossed for a spectacular show!

What is a meteor shower?

Meteors are caused by debris entering Earth’s atmosphere. The debris can be as small as a grain of sand, burning up in the atmosphere and causing a bright streak of light to appear briefly in our night sky. The debris that causes a meteor can travel between 11 and 73 km/second.

A meteor shower is a time when you see lots of “shooting stars”. These are caused by the Earth passing through the trail of debris left by a comet or other object that has come into our Solar System and orbited around the Sun.

The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower results from Earth passing through the debris left by the well-known Halley’s Comet.

In October, Earth also passes through Halley’s Comet’s trail of debris, which gives us the Orionids Meteor Shower.

What’s the Moon phase, and how does it affect viewing?

The Moon will be new during the Eta Aquarids this year. This means that bright and faint meteors will be visible under dark sky conditions.

Make sure you escape city light pollution and find a spot in country WA to view this one.

Something interesting

Meteor showers are named after the constellation where the “shooting stars” appear to be coming from.

In the case of the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, the meteors come from the direction of the constellation Aquarius. If you have a handy smartphone app that helps you identify objects in the night sky, search for Aquarius, and you’ll be looking in the right location.

More reading:

The International Meteor Organization is a great place to discover more about all things meteors. Check out their Meteor Shower Calendar. You might even like to become a member!

You might like to…

Become a citizen scientist and report meteor sightings!

If you happen to see a very bright meteor (often referred to as a “fireball”), WA’s Fireballs in the Sky team based at Curtin University would love to know! Report your fireball sighting with the International Meteor Organization.

Where's the Best Place to see a Meteor Shower?

You need a good dark night sky for the best view! Choose an Astrotourism Town destination. Happy meteor hunting!