Not much luck to view Eta Aquarids

Our humble meteor observing rig… Credit Dave Dickinson

Halley's Comet will not return to Earth skies for half a century.

"You'll see fewer in the Northern Hemisphere because the shower's point of origin, called the radiant, doesn't rise until well after midnight, and won't get too high in the sky before dawn", NASA says. Now, May's only event arrives as the Earth will pass through the debris cloud left by the most well known comet of all; Halley's Comet.

Some good news though is that there will be a new Moon, which will allow for better viewing, as the best time for meteors will be right before dawn.

And in good news for stargazers, the New Moon will just be a small silvery crescent, so its light will not wash out the view.

The showers typically peak in early May and this year they are expected to peak this weekend.

While the prospect of rising from your bed in the middle of the night doesn't sound too appealing, astronomers are urging Australians to rise for a meteor shower that is being dubbed as one of the best of its kind in years.

The difference being that during October's meet shower, the shooting stars appear to emanate from Orion.

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With an early-May peak - this year it's May 4-6 - the Eta Aquarid meteors travel at about 148,000 miles per hour into Earth's atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Aquarius is closer to the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere.

There is no spike in meteor activity during the Eta Aquarids, with a plateaux period centred around Monday.

RASNZ said stargazers should expect to see 30 or more meteors an hour.

NASA suggests that to be able to clearly view the meteor shower, find an area away from bright city or street lights.

Take a blanket or chair with so you can view the spectacular show in comfort.

"Lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible". Plan your trip such that you give yourself about 15-30 minutes to set up and let your eyes adjust to the dark.

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