Eta Aquarids, one of the most anticipated meteor showers of the year, reached its peak yesterday at dawn. The phenomenon lit up skies around the world, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere, with hundreds of “shooting stars”.
What makes this rain special is its composition. The luminous phenomena are generated by pieces of the tail of the famous Halley comet — which last visited us 35 years ago, in 1986, and will only return in 2061 —, which enter our atmosphere.
Beautiful records were made around the world, including Brazil. Check out some of them below:
Eta Aquarids: check out photos of the meteor shower from Halley’s comet
There’s still time to watch in the next few days
The good news is that the meteor shower will continue to be active for the next few days. You don’t need telescopes or other special equipment to observe it. Just look at the cloudless sky.
Check out the following tips to increase the chances of you enjoying the phenomenon:
- Look for a place with low light, such as a porch or backyard. The less light pollution, the more chances to observe more meteors.
- Be comfortable. Sit in a chair (preferably a reclining or beach chair), protect yourself from the cold and avoid using your cell phone (so you don’t get distracted or have your vision dazzled by the brightness of the screen).
- Be patient. Our eyes take about 20 minutes to get used to the low light and to differentiate the brightness of different celestial bodies (stars, planets, meteors).
- Look to the east (where the sun rises) from 2 am, when the constellation of Aquarius will be rising. It will be below the planet Saturn. One software observation of the skies (such as StellariumStar walkStar chartSky Safari or SkyView) can help you find the constellation.
- This is the radiant of the Eta Aquarids (hence the name); that is, meteors will appear to converge in the constellation. But don’t fix your eyes on it, they can appear from anywhere around.
- Watch closely and wait for meteors. The best time for observation is from 4 am, when the radiant is highest in the sky. Meteors can be seen until dawn.
- Make a wish for every “shooting star” you see, as tradition dictates.
Eta Aquarids remains active until the end of the month, with fewer and fewer meteors. Until today (7) it will still be very intense.
With a camera in long exposure mode, it is possible to make beautiful images of meteor tracks, like those recorded in Santa Catarina over the past week.