Predicted Maximum: May 5 (broad)
Moon: Full Moon (major interference)
(radiant map from IMO)
WHEN TO WATCH: The Eta Aquarids are only visible for a short period around the time morning twilight begins. This year, consider skipping them due to the bright moon. If you want to catch a few, maybe try the morning of Thursday, May 3 after moonset.
The Eta Aquarids are better for Southern Hemisphere observers, but are a bit difficult for everyone. The key is to watch during the last hour or so before twilight gets really bright. In terms of local time this depends on your latitude and also on your longitude with respect to the center of your time zone. Check an almanac or planetarium software. At latitude 42.6 degrees North, I've had my best results from about 3:40-4:40am local daylight time. Only a handful will likely be visible this year.
The low radiant elevation means that the earliest ETAs you see will be ""earthgrazers"": long, relatively slow and often tracing paths along the horizon. Bright earthgrazers are spectacular. Unfortunately, because of their greater distance from the observer, earthgrazers tend to be faint. As the radiant gets a bit higher, the ETAs take on more of their typical appearance: fast meteors, bright on average and often leaving a glowing train. You'll only catch a few of them, though, because dawn is approaching. This shower seems to fluctuate irregularly, and you could easily hit either a spurt or a lull during the all-too-brief observing window.
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