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05/06/2019 – Ephemeris – The Eta Aquariid meteor shower

May 6, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, May 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 8:53, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:24. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:52 this evening.

The Earth is now passing through a stream of bits of rock that were shed from Halley’s Comet on its many previous passes of the inner solar system. The Earth gets to pass through this stream twice, Once in late October as the stream passes the Earth’s orbit heading in, and in early May as the stream is departing. The peak of this meteor shower, the Eta Aquariids, lasts several days. But since the meteoroids are coming from nearer the direction of the Sun, there is only a short period when these meteors are visible. Actually only an hour between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. or a little bit later in the Grand Traverse region as twilight begins to interfere with the display. The radiant, from where the meteors will seem to come will stay low in the east-southeast, but they will be seen all over the sky.  The farther south one is on the earth the longer each morning the meteors will be visible.  We’re at a disadvantage being 45º north latitude.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Eta Aquarid Radiant

The sky at 4 a.m. tomorrow looking eastward at the Eta Aquariid radiant. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.