Long weekend meteor shower for Brisbane

Eta Aquariid meteor captured in Wyoming in 2013. | Newsreel
An Eta Aquariid meteor captured in Wyoming in 2013. | Photo: David Kingham (Flickr)

Set your alarm clocks Brisbane if you want to sneak a peak of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower this long weekend.

The celestial show is one of the best visible in the southern hemisphere each year and this year’s display, in our eastern sky, promises to be extra special.

Writing in The Conversation Jonti Horner, a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland and Tanya Hill, the Senior Curator (Astronomy) at Museums Victoria, said the peak of this year’s shower coincided with a new Moon, meaning skies would be extra dark in the hours before dawn.

“Perfect conditions to watch fragments of (Halley’s) comet rain down,” they say.

Peak viewing time for Brisbane is 1.20am, with the best day to view the shower Monday, May 6, but a few days either side will also feature a show.

The experts say you would usually expect to see 20 or 30 meteors per hour in the hours before dawn, but there were predictions this shower may be more “active” than usual.

“Scientists modelling the behaviour of the Eta Aquariids over the past few decades have found tantalising hints that this year could see significantly enhanced rates. In fact, they suggest the 2024 Eta Aquariid meteor shower could prove to be the strongest of the entire 21st century,” the pair say.

But they urge you to be patient as meteors don’t come at an even rate.

“You can wait 15 minutes and see none, then four may come along at once. So remember to wrap up warm, get comfortable and gaze towards the eastern sky as you relax to enjoy the show.”