Eta Aquariids meteor shower: when to watch

Forecasts of the peak vary, however, and the shower should still be visible in the pre-dawn hours on May 4, 5, and 6, 2022, according to EarthSky.
The Eta Aquariids, named after the constellation Aquarius, derive from the debris of Halley’s Comet, the well-known comet that is visible from Earth every 76 years, according to NASA. The last time the comet was spotted in our skies was in 1986, and it won’t appear again until 2061.
While Eta Aquariids are visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, they are best seen in the Southern Hemisphere where meteors will rise highest in the night sky, according to NASA.
In the northern hemisphere, meteors will appear lower in the sky as “scrapers,” meaning they’ll brush against Earth’s horizon, according to NASA.
Eta Aquariids are known for their speed of movement, which can reach a speed of 148,000 miles per hour, according to NASA. Meteors will produce glowing “trains” that will stay in the sky for several seconds after the meteor crosses the sky.

The shower will remain active until May 27.

More meteor showers to see

The Delta Aquariids are best visible from the southern tropics and will peak between July 28-29, when the moon is 74% full.

Interestingly, another meteor shower peaks the same night – the Alpha Capricornids. Although a much weaker downpour, it has been known to produce bright fireballs during its peak. It will be visible to everyone, regardless of which side of the equator they are on.

The most popular Perseid meteor shower of the year will peak between August 11 and 12 in the Northern Hemisphere, when the moon is only 13% full.

Here’s the meteor shower schedule for the rest of the year, according to EarthSky’s meteor shower outlook.
  • October 8: Draconids
  • October 21: Orionids
  • November 4-5: Southern Taurids
  • November 11 to 12: Northern Taurids
  • November 17: Leonids
  • December 13 to 14: Geminids
  • December 22: Ursids

Full moons in 2021

There are eight full moons left to come in 2022, two of which qualify as supermoons.

Definitions of a supermoon can vary, but the term generally refers to a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than normal and therefore appears larger in the night sky.

Some astronomers say the phenomenon occurs when the moon is less than 90% of perigee, which is its closest approach to Earth in orbit. According to this definition, the June full moon as well as the July full moon will be considered super moon events.

Here is a list of the remaining moons this year, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:
  • September 10: Harvest Moon

Solar and Lunar Eclipses

A partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northeast Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, India, and western China. The first was April 30.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but blocks only part of its light. Be sure to wear appropriate eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as sunlight can damage the eyes.

A beginner's guide to stargazing (courtesy of CNN Underscored)

There will also be two total lunar eclipses in 2022.

A total lunar eclipse will be visible to those in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America (excluding those in the northwestern regions) between 9:31 p.m. ET on May 15 and 2:52 a.m. ET on May 16.

Another total lunar eclipse will also be on display for those in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 3:01 a.m. ET and 8:58 a.m. ET – but the moon is will lie for those in eastern parts of North America.

A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon when the sun, earth, and moon align and the moon passes into the earth’s shadow. The Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the eclipse. Penumbra is partial outer shade and umbra is full, dark shade.

As the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it will darken, but it will not disappear. Sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere dramatically lights up the moon, turning it red – which is why this event is often called a “blood moon”.

Depending on the weather conditions in your area, the moon may appear rusty, brick-colored, or blood-red.

This color variability occurs because blue light experiences stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted when sunlight passes through our atmosphere and shines it onto the moon.

Luz W. German