back to article Eta Aquariid meteor shower peaks this weekend, and will be one for the ages

The annual Halley's Comet-linked Eta Aquariid meteor shower will peak tonight and tomorrow, and for those able to see it, this year's show promises to be fantastic.  A full Moon will partially wash out some of the fainter meteors, but NASA said that won't matter very much. Earth is currently passing through a particularly …

  1. C. P. Cosgrove

    Aye, right !

    There was an article in El Reg a few years ago which pointed out that anytime there was an interesting astronomical event in the UK skies the weather prevented you from seeing it.

    I can confirm that this still holds true. Outside my house in Central Scotland, at its 220m above sea level height, horizontal visibility is about 200m max and vertical visibility zilch ! This is about par for the course.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aye, right !

      I am reminded of the hapless first wooing of my wife, heading out to see the spectacular meteor shower we were well prepared at the prescribed 3am -

      quickly pulling the duvet over our heads to blunt the first downpour.

      Looks set to offer a re-enactment here tonight. Romance is in the air! Wish me luck.

    2. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: Aye, right !

      Meanwhile in England

      Cloud cover -High

      Light pollution - High

      Chance of seeing meteors -Low/Zero

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Aye, right !

        Got woken by the rain at 4 am ish. Came downstairs to watch some shit on tv/netfix and glances at phone and AuroraWatch informed me there was a chance of seeing Aurora anywhere in the UK.

        If only I was 30,000 feet tall!

    3. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

      Re: Aye, right !

      "There was an article in El Reg a few years ago which pointed out that anytime there was an interesting astronomical event in the UK skies the weather prevented you from seeing it."

      Thank goodness you said that, I was starting to think the universe has a personal vendetta against my astronomical aspirations. Only last winter, a friend called me late at night to tell me she was relaxing in bed with a cup of tea and watching meteors through her bedroom window. She lives less than 20 miles away, yet, when I scurried outside, I was met not with clear, albeit light polluted skies, but with torrential rain. Curses, foiled yet again!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Aye, right !

      A meteor shower is like a normal rain shower which is no doubt why the forecast here in Potsdam is also for cloud and/or rain both nights.

      I want to know where all these astronomers go to see these spectacles! Are they just making it up? Or was all that wet racket on the window last night just soggy meteoroids making it to ground level?

      1. Francis Boyle

        Re: Aye, right !

        Hanging around on top of a mountain on Hawaii certainly helps. As does camping out in the Ataama desert.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Aye, right !

          >"A meteor shower is like a normal rain shower,

          But with hypersonic rocks surrounded by plasma falling like raindrops on roses

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: Aye, right !

            And their trails in the sky like whiskers on kittens..

  2. Captain Hogwash

    Re: wait around for October's Orionids

    Perseids in August are usually better.

    1. parlei

      Re: wait around for October's Orionids

      The advantage for us in the northern latitudes is that October is darker that August: 6 weeks from midsummer as opposed to 4 months makes a huge difference.

  3. Peter Mount

    British weather

    The OatMeal has a cartoon about "celestial events" and the weather obliging by getting in the way.

    Looking at the forecast for here, that would be true for tonight. Sunday night (3am Monday) looks possible though

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: British weather

      Came for this comment - to see it or make it. Cheers!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: British weather

      I was thinking totally different heavenly bodies (from Zits):

  4. sitta_europea Silver badge

    The image accompanying this article is misleading.

    In meteor showers the meteors don't head toward some point in the sky, they head away from it.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Something must have scared them...

    2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      I was about to make a similar comment about the thumbnail image in question and the fact that they clearly weren't originating from the same part of the sky (*) , but you got there first.

      That said, they don't appear to be heading *towards* a particular point either. My reaction was that's definitely *not* a regular meteor shower, and more likely some "Day of the Triffids" style event.

      Or more likely the stock image was thrown together by someone who knew nothing about meteors.

      (*) This being *why* meteor showers are named after constellations where the fixed point in the sky they apparently "originate" from is located (e.g. the Perseids come "from" Perseus).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >(e.g. the Perseids come "from" Perseus).

        Although the government is introducing legislation to stop them arriving here

  5. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Clear dark skies are better predictors.

    It's been my experience that, if you want to see meteors at the rate of around 1 per minute, what you need is:

    A clear moonless sky.

    No stray light, whether it's from car headlights or a nearby town.

    Perfect eyesight that focuses on "infinitely distant" objects. Mine doesn't anymore:(

    To lie on your back for long enough for your vision to adapt to the low light levels: at least 10 minutes, but 30 is probably better.

    This has worked for me high up in mountains (for example, in the Pyrenees), but also on unlit beaches on the Norfolk coast. These meteors will be rapid, faint, white streaks.

    I have also seen spectacular green meteors in much less favourable conditions, usually while cycling along country lanes or walking at the coast. None of the really bright meteors that I've seen have coincided with any of the well known meteor showers.

    Sidenote: I'm also disappointed to learn that the green comes from oxygen ions created by the passage of the meteor or nickel in the meteors, even though I've recently learned that meteoric copper is a thing. (Indigenous peoples of Northwest, North America. used to make objects from meteoric copper.)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like