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Shooting stars in May Meteor shower from Halley's Comet

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There are shooting stars to count in May! The May or Eta aquarids whiz across the sky all night long. However, these shooting stars are only for early risers. We'll tell you when and where you can find the most falling stars.

From: Heike Westram

Status: 04/30/2021

For almost the entire blissful month of May, shooting stars whiz across the firmament: the May Aquarids are coming. For a good week there are actually a lot of meteors on the move, night after night. However, these shooting stars can only be seen in the early morning.

Halley's Comet

Halley's Comet, which last passed Earth in 1986, left several traces of dust - and we always cross one of them at the beginning of May. The resulting falling stars provide a sparkle for most of the month: the May or Eta aquarids. From late April to May 28th, they whiz across the sky.

When & where to see the most falling stars

Shooting stars radians

From May 3rd to May 10th, the number of shooting stars barely drops below thirty snouts per hour. At the peak of the morning May 6th the meteor shower even reaches fall rates of fifty, in some years even eighty falling stars per hour. Unfortunately, we only see a fraction of this number of shooting stars in Bavaria. Over the equator and in the southern hemisphere, this falling star rain is one of the most beautiful of the year. And the Eta Aquarids are also great to watch in southern Italy.

This is the direction you should look

The radiant of the Mai aquarids lies in the constellation Aquarius (Aquarius), near its star Eta (η Aqr). That gave the shooting stars their second name: Eta-Aquariden. With us, Aquarius lies very low and does not rise until after two o'clock in the East over the horizon. The best time to look for a sniff is therefore the late morning hours around four o'clock, at the onset of early dawn. Around five o'clock the sky becomes too bright for the falling stars.

In this short hour of observation, the point of radiation of the meteor shower in Aquarius is only a hand's breadth above the horizon in the east. So deep that you will only see about every fifth falling star. That would still be ten shooting stars per hour, more in strong years. After all, some Eta Aquarids whiz very far across the sky, so that they can also be easily seen here.

The moon doesn't bother much this year. Its waning sickle appears exactly under Aquarius, only a hand's breadth away from the radiant of the falling stars, but does not open until a quarter past four. On the following mornings the conditions are even better, as the moon only appears when it has become too bright for the Eta aquarids anyway.

With a long track

It's worth waiting for the bright falling stars, some of which even leave a long, glowing trail in the sky. They are very fast meteors that whiz across the sky at around 65 kilometers per second.

On the following days you can still see a number of Eta aquarids whizzing. With further support around May 9th: Then the so-called Eta-Lyriden from the lyre will contribute around three sniffs per hour.

If you have caught a clear night while looking for shooting stars, then stay a little longer: because the constellations of spring shine in the night sky. And if you are disturbed by sniffing clouds, then take a closer look: In May you can sometimes spot glowing night clouds.

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  • Shooting stars - magical, heavenly filth. Good to know, 09/21/2019 at 7:00 p.m., BR television
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