The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is the first of two meteor showers that occur each year as a result of Earth passing through dust released by Halley’s Comet (perhaps the most infamous!). When these particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere, the friction they encounter causes them to heat up and produce a streak of light. This is called a meteor, or a “shooting star”. The shower will peak during the hours just before dawn Tuesday, but they’ll also be visible tonight and again early Wednesday. Viewers in the southern Hemisphere actually have a better probability of seeing the meteors since their frequency will be about 30 per hour compared to 10 per hour in the northern hemisphere.
If you live in the city, drive away from the glow of city lights for better viewing. Try to pick an isolated spot too since the glare of headlights can actually diminish your night vision. Obviously our viewing is highly dependent on the sky conditions.
Overnight tonight, we will see gradual clearing. Some stubborn clouds may persist at the coast, but aside from that, we should see mostly clear skies by pre-dawn. Early Tuesday it looks like we’ll see some patchy, high thin clouds that may inhibit viewing somewhat. Your best bet to catch some falling stars may be on Wednesday pre-dawn under mostly clear skies. Check out the total cloud cover forecast (percentage) for the next 3 nights below…
We’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Good luck!