The May Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower

By Mario Carr

The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower peaks May 5 and is best seen lying on a lounge chair in a dark location away from city lights after midnight.

The Southern Hemisphere of the Earth will have the best view with most of the activity but we could see about 30 meteors per hour. The meteors will appear to be radiating from the constellation Aquarius but can also appear anywhere in the night sky.

However, this year’s waxing gibbous Moon will wash out many of the fainter meteors but you could still see the brighter ones. The shower is caused by dust particles left behind by comet Halley that has swept by Earth’s orbit since antiquity. If you miss the peak, don’t worry. You could still see some stranglers until May 28.

Here are May stargazing events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury can be seen at dawn and Venus can be seen in the morning sky. Jupiter can be seen in the evening sky. Saturn can be seen in the morning sky.

May 2 – First-quarter Moon

May 4 – The Moon and star Regulus are extremely close.

May 7 – The Moon and Jupiter are close in the evening sky.

May 10 –This month’s Full Moon is also known as the Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon.

May 12 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m, Spectator Building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Free admission, door prizes and everybody is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected and appreciated. This month’s scheduled speaker is Wayne Parker.

May 13 – The Moon and Saturn are close in the morning sky.

May 17 — Mercury is at greatest western elongation away from the Sun making it higher above the horizon and easier to spot at dawn.

May 18 – Last-quarter Moon

May 22 – The Moon and Venus are close in the morning sky.

May 23 – The Moon is close to Mercury at dawn.

May 27 — Public observing evening with the club at Hamilton’s McQuesten Community, Park, 1199 Upper Wentworth Street.

May 31 – The Moon and star Regulas are close together.

For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at http://www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca. Twitter: @MarioCCarr

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About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of public education for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at www.carrmarketinggroup.com or mariocarr@cogeco.ca.
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