Eta Aquarids 2024

Eta Aquarids meteor in night sky, Shutterstock, by Jimmy Walsh

Spring Sky Watch

Eta Aquarids Showers


The Eta Aquarids is a strong meteor shower known for quick moving meteors with long glowing trains trailing behind them.  It is one of the best meteor showers to view from Earth’s surface with a peak view time that is measured in days rather than hours.

This year the shower will peak on the mornings of May 4th (that’s tonight) and May 5th.  With the New Moon just a few days away it will be dark and ideal conditions for sky watching, local weather permitting!

Eta Aquarids is best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, though from the north it is still enjoyable to watch the shooting stars over the southern horizon.

The Eta Aquariid Meteors in the Southern Sky at a Beach, Shutterstock, by Andrew Murrell


Eta Aquarids meteors come from ice and dust left behind by Halley’s Comet, which is perhaps the most well-known of the small bodies orbiting the Sun. Halley’s Comet has been observed for over two thousand years and was documented as a comet three hundred years ago. Our first records of Eta Aquarids meteor sightings were China over twelve hundred years ago, but experts weren’t certain the showers were linked to Halley’s Comet until 1900. 

More Information

Meteor (a.k.a. a shooting star) is a piece of space debris that becomes so hot that it glows from friction as it enters the atmosphere. When Earth passes through a field of cosmic debris in her orbit around the sun, we experience a Meteor Shower. Every year there are dozens of meteor showers visible from the Earth’s surface. Each event has its own unique statistics…

Event Statistics

Conditions:   Excellent. This year’s peak is a few days from New Moon

Duration:  April 15th to May 27th

Peak:   Early mornings of May 4th and 5th

Parent:   Debris from Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley)

Radiant:   Above southern horizon near the Aquarius constellation

Rate:   60 meteors per hour in SH, 10 meteors per hour in NH

Surges:   Uncommon for this event

Luminosity:   High level of brightness

Fireballs:   Uncommon for this event

Trains:   Common and significant 

Velocity:   42 miles per second

How to Watch

View from a dark location away from light pollution from cities, houses, and streets.

For the best viewing experience, find a position where you can view the entire area of the sky around the radiant point (the spot where the meteors appear to emanate from).

For the Eta Aquarids, look to the southern constellation Aquarius.

May nights are still chilly, so dress accordingly. A chair and blanket may make viewing more comfortable. Warm tea and/or hot cocoa and some snacks can take a sky watch to the next level.

Get into position twenty minutes before your planned view time to allow your eyes to adjust to the night sky.

Meteor showers are best watched with your naked eyes.

Binoculars and telescopes limit your field of view and make it difficult to spot meteors outside of the view through magnifying lenses.

Enjoy the 2024 Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower!

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The night sky is forever changing with the Earth’s daily rotation and annual orbit around the sun. Every time you glance up at the stars you get a different view of the cosmos, like a living work of art.