Meteor shower will light up the sky in May, this is the best day to see it – El Sol de México

Although the Meteor shower began around April 20 and will end around May 27, is the night of May 5 to 6 when the number of meteors is greater, from 50 to 85 meteors to observe per hour. Try to observe the dawn on May 5th and 6th.

To appreciate it, you must look east or east, it is the same direction where the sun “rises” every morning. Although you can start your observation at night, more meteors are expected from 2 am until dawn.

The meteors of the Eta Aquarids appear to come from a point, called the radiant, which is located near the star Eta Acuarii of the constellation of Aquarius, the Water Bearer. The stars are designated with Greek letters, this being one of them. However, although the meteors appear to come from near the star Eta Acuarii, in reality you have to look over much of the sky, as meteors appear everywhere.

Meteors are a atmospheric phenomenon. Although they appear to arise in Aquarius, there is actually no relationship between meteors and the stars of the constellations. Meteors explode and shine between 70 and 100 km high, in the atmosphere

terrestrial, while the stars are located billions of kilometers or light years away. It’s just the perspective of the observer.

The Eta Aquarids They are reputed to produce bright meteorsdue to their high speed with which they collide with the Earth at 66 km/s!

The objects that produce meteors or shooting stars are pebbles that are in space, called meteoroids, when They collide with the Earth and enter the Earth’s atmosphere they receive the name of bolides or aerolites, although the latter is almost out of use.

When one of These cars rub against the air of the upper layers of the atmospherethe friction produces heat and soon the car heats up and explodes. We call the light of the fireball a meteor or shooting star. We only see the meteor, we never see the bolide, since they are ice pebbles a few centimeters in size at high altitude. It is incorrect to call them meteorites, since by definition, a meteorite is a fireball that survives the atmosphere and falls to the ground. In the case of Meteor Showers, the fireballs disintegrate in the atmosphere.

How to observe it

Meteor Showers are observed with the naked eye, Do not try to use binoculars or a telescope because they will not work, the meteors shine in a couple of seconds and it is impossible to follow them with these optical devices.

Try to have one reclining chair or mat, Do not try to observe standing up, as your neck will soon get tired and your desire to observe will die. Stay away from lights, do not use lamps, do not watch your cell phone or television, you will be dazzled and thus you will not see the meteors, not even the brightest ones. To adapt to the dark again you must wait 20 minutes, while this adaptation is lost in less than a second if you look at the lit screen of your phone.

If you can get out of the city, away from light pollution the better, you will see more meteors, if not, look for a dark place in your house, without front lights. Although you might miss some meteors, you will see the brightest ones.

Observing a meteor shower is an activity of one or more hours, not a few minutes, so prepare well and settle in; if you observe it with friends or family, the better.

Halley’s Comet

Most Meteor Showers are produced by material released from a comet and to a lesser extent an asteroid. In the case of the Eta Aquarids, it is material from the famous Halley comet.

Comets are dirty ice rocksmany of them come from a ring around the Solar System called the Kuiper Belt, this ring is located in the vicinity of the orbit of the dwarf planet Pluto and is made up of trillions of ice rocks.

When a rock of ice shoots out of the Kuiper Belt and advances into the interior of the Solar System, to the vicinity of the Sun. As it advances, the temperature increases, the ice begins to evaporate, and gases trapped inside are released.

They expand due to heat and break the surface of the ice in explosions, releasing more steam, gas and ice pebbles, which is when a “atmosphere” around the ice, called a coma and the tail also appears, a comet has been born!

As the comet moves away from the Sun, the coma and tail disappear, until they re-emerge when the comet is back in the vicinity of the Sun.

If that comet passes near or over the orbit that the Earth follows around the Sun, that material will collide with the Earth, when our planet passed through that area of ​​the orbit, causing the Meteor Showers.

He Halley’s comet measures 16 km in diameter, It travels its orbit in 76 years, visited us in 1986 and will return in 2061. In fact, in December 2023, Halley’s Comet reached its greatest distance from the Sun (aphelion) and immediately began the return trip, to be admired in 2061.

He Halley’s comet is the most famous, since in 1705, the English astronomer Edmond Halley published his study on a comet observed in 1682 and discovered that it was the same comet seen in 1607, 1531 and 1456. Thus, Halley assured that the comet

It would return in 1758, although Halley did not observe it as he died in 1742, the comet reappeared as he had predicted and since then it has been known as Halley’s Comet. For the first time, it was known that many comets are periodic, meaning that they return again and again over the centuries. Regarding Halley’s Comet, 30 historical observations have been computed, from the year 240 BC. C. until 1986.

Observation probability

The Eta Aquarids is not the Meteor Shower or Star Shower with more meteors, but yes it is one of the best to observe, It is surpassed by the Perseids in August or the Geminids in December, which present around 100 meteors per hour. While most Meteor Showers present between 5 to 20 meteors per hour. The Eta Aquarids with 50 to 85 meteors per hour make it very important and it is worth trying to observe it.

In 2024 we have the advantage that the Moon will not be a problemas it is appearing over the eastern horizon around 4:30 a.m. on May 5, plus it won’t be bright as it is headed for the New Moon on May 7.

In the early hours of May 6, the Moon will have fallen and will be conjunct with Mercury, side by side.

What else to observe

Before dawn, in the days of May, we have several planets to the east, that we can admire while we wait for the meteors.

Saturn is observed to the east starting at 3:30 am. At 4 am Mars will be appearing, in red, minutes later the Moon will appear (May 5). And at 5 am, close to dawn, Mercury will appear. These planets can be observed with the naked eye, but if you have a telescope you will have a better image. However, you could be disappointed with Saturn, since between 2024 and 2025 its rings will be closed and we will not be able to observe them as we would like. With a telescope you can observe Neptune, which is above Mars, far from Saturn.

To the southeast shines the star Fomalhaut of the constellation of the Southern Fish.


In ancient Greek mythology, the water bearer constellation represents the young Trojan prince Ganymede, which was taken to Olympus by Zeus turned into an eagle. Ganymede’s job was to be the pourer of the gods, that is, to serve water and wine. The constellation of the Eagle, higher up, represents Zeus.

We hope to have clear skies and see many meteors from the Eta Aquarids.

Note published in El Sol de Puebla

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