Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower tonight: When to watch the rain of stars in India?
As the Sun, Moon, and Earth align in a straight line for a lunar eclipse tonight, another astronomical event will coincide in the skies. The ETA Aquariid meteor shower will peak on Friday and Saturday.
The ETA Aquariid meteor peaks every year in the months of April and May as Earth comes in the way of the shooting stars, which appear like constant rain in the dark sky. The astronomical event this year will peak on Friday evening and on Saturday morning in the Northern hemisphere.
Even though the moon will be in its full phase on Friday night, it won’t create any obstacle to observing the meteor shower as it can be observed at the dawn of May 6 as well. A meteor shower is the result of the leftover comet particles or particles from broken asteroids floating in space through which the Earth passes while moving in its own orbit around the Sun.
WHAT IS ETA AQUARIID METEOR SHOWER?
The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is named after the star Eta Aquarii, which is located in the constellation Aquarius. The meteors themselves are actually debris from Halley's Comet, one of the most famous comets in the solar system.
When Halley's Comet orbits the Sun, it leaves a trail of debris behind it. This debris consists of small rocks and dust particles, which are known as meteoroids. When the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by Halley's Comet, the meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up, creating bright streaks of light in the sky.
WHEN WILL THE ETA AQUARIID METEOR SHOWER BE VISIBLE IN INDIA?
The ETA Aquariid Meteor shower will be visible across India on Friday evening, followed by Saturday morning. Shilpi Gupta, Scientific Officer with MP Birla Planetarium in Kolkata told IndiaToday.in that while peak activity will be seen in the Southern Hemisphere with over 100 meteors shooting per hour, the northern hemisphere will witness 25 to 30 meteors per hour.
"Though meteors can be spotted all over the sky, they seem to emanate from a particular point in the sky, which is called its radiant point. The radiant of this shower is located near the star Eta Aquarii of the Aquarius Constellation," Gupta added.
HOW TO WATCH ETA AQUARIID METEOR SHOWER?
Meteor showers are not constant and to observe them you need patience. Shilp said that the meteor showers are best observed with unaided eyes, without any binoculars or telescopes.
To watch the meteor shower you need to get as far away from the city lights as possible. Try to find a higher elevation above the city line to spot the meteors. Allow the eyes a minimum of 20 minutes to be accustomed to the absolute darkness.
And then stargaze.