In Our Skies, May 2023: Eta Aquarids

by Shaphan Shank | May 1, 2023 | 0 comments

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak on the night of May 5–6. Unfortunately, that’s also the night of Full Moon, so any faint meteors will be washed out by moonlight. On a year without moonlight interference, the Eta Aquarid shower produces 40–50 meteors per hour, but the number of visible meteors will be significantly lower this year due to the moonlight. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is unusual in that it is best observed from the Southern Hemisphere. Northern Hemisphere observers can also watch this shower, but the meteor rates will be somewhat lower than they are farther south.

Just before sunrise on May 17, Jupiter will have a close encounter with the Moon, which will just be a thin crescent. The pair will rise 1–1½ hours before sunrise, and for observers across parts of the western and southwestern US, the Moon will occult (pass in front of) Jupiter. In the eastern and central states, the two objects will be visible as a very close pair in the eastern sky. However, from these parts of the country, the sunrise will hide Jupiter before it disappears behind the Moon.

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