/Meteor shower in May 2021: When to see the Eta Aquariids – CNN

Meteor shower in May 2021: When to see the Eta Aquariids – CNN


The shower lasts from April 19 to May 28, but the best time to view it is when it peaks before dawn on May 5,
according to EarthSky. There may be a sprinkling of meteors on the morning of May 6 as well.

A bright moon can negatively impact the visibility of the meteors, but fortunately, a waning crescent moon will appear in the sky on both May 5 and May 6. The light from the moon shouldn’t drastically affect how well stargazers can see the shower, EarthSky said.

The Eta Aquariids will be visible in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, but the view will be better in the Southern Hemisphere,
according to NASA.

Cloud cover may be an issue for some people in the United States hoping to see the meteor shower.

Around dawn on May 5, most of the US east of the Mississippi River will see significant cloud cover, said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. Other than some clouds along the central Rocky Mountains and the Northern Plains, the rest of the country should have fairly clear skies, Ward added.

During peak activity, stargazers can expect to see meteors traveling at an average of 44 miles per hour, NASA said.

Viewers should see a number of light trails, but few fireballs,
according to the American Meteor Society. Fireballs are brighter than the average meteor and tend to last longer.
The meteors originate from Halley’s Comet, the famous comet that only appears once every 76 years,
according to NASA. The last time it was spotted in our sky was in 1986, and it won’t appear again until 2061.

More meteor showers to see

The Milky Way is seen from the Glacier Point Trailside in Yosemite National Park, California.
The Milky Way is seen from the Glacier Point Trailside in Yosemite National Park, California.

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

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

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

Here is 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 to 5: South Taurids
  • November 11 to 12: North Taurids
  • November 17: Leonids
  • December 13 to 14: Geminids
  • December 22: Ursids

Full moons in 2021

Typical of a normal year, there are 12 full moons in 2021. (There were 13 full moons last year, two of which were in October.)

Here are the rest of this year’s full moons and their names, according to
The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

May 26 — Flower moon

June 24 — Strawberry moon

July 23 — Buck moon

August 22 — Sturgeon moon

September 20 — Harvest moon

October 20 — Hunter’s moon

November 19 — Beaver moon

December 18 — Cold moon

Be sure to check for the other names of
these moons as well, attributed to their respective Native American tribes.

Here is what else you can look forward to in 2021.

Solar and lunar eclipses

This year, there will be two eclipses of the sun and two eclipses of the moon — and three of these will be visible for some in North America, according to
The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

A total eclipse of the moon will occur on May 26, best visible to those in western North America and Hawaii from 4:46 a.m. ET to 9:51 a.m. ET.

An annular eclipse of the sun will happen on June 10, visible in northern and northeastern North America from 4:12 a.m. ET to 9:11 a.m. ET. The sun won’t be fully blocked by the moon, so be sure to wear eclipse glasses to safely view this event.

November 19 will see a partial eclipse of the moon, and skywatchers in North America and Hawaii can view it between 1 a.m. ET and 7:06 a.m. ET.

And the year will end with a total eclipse of the sun on December 4. It won’t be visible in North America, but those in the Falkland Islands, the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica and southeastern Australia will be able to spot it.

Visible planets

Skywatchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets in our sky during certain mornings and evenings throughout 2021, according to the
Farmer’s Almanac planetary guide.

It’s possible to see most of these with the naked eye, with the exception of distant Neptune, but binoculars or a telescope will provide the best view.

Mercury will look like a bright star in the morning sky from June 27 to July 16 and October 18 to November 1. It shines in the night sky through May 24, August 31 to September 21, and November 29 to December 31.

Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk in the evenings from May 24 to December 31. It’s the second-brightest object in our sky, after the moon.

Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between November 24 and December 31, and it will be visible in the evening sky through August 22.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is the third-brightest object in our sky. It will be on display in the morning sky through August 19. Look for it in the evenings August 20 to December 31 — but it will be at its brightest from August 8 to September 2.

Saturn’s rings are only visible through a telescope, but the planet itself can still be seen with the naked eye in the mornings through August 1 and in the evenings August 2 to December 31. It will be at its brightest during the first four days of August.

Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot the greenish glow of Uranus on the mornings of May 16 to November 3 and the evenings of November 4 to December 31. It will be at its brightest between August 28 and December 31.

And our most distant neighbor in the solar system, Neptune, will be visible through a telescope in the mornings through September 13 and during the evenings September 14 to December 31. It will be at its brightest between July 19 and November 8.

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