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An Eta Aquarid Seen On Two Cameras At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center!



The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower started in late April and peaked in activity last Monday, but that doesn’t mean the meteor shower is over just yet!  Two different cameras at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center captured an Eta Aquarid fireball as it streaked across the night sky.  One of the cameras was part of the NASA ALL Sky Fireball Network and the second was seen on a wide-field camera (~20×15 degree FOV). Below is video courtesy of Dr. William Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

The radiant (place where meteors seem to shoot from) for the Eta Aquarids is the northeastern part of the constellation Aquarius, three degrees east of the fourth magnitude star known as Eta Aquarii. Higher than average activity has continued to occur since its peak last week, with rates of two meteors per hour in the higher latitudes, to around ten closer to the equator. The best time to try and view an Eta Aquarid is during the predawn hours, roughly 2:00 am to 5:00 am. Eta Aquarids are fast movers as they enter our atmosphere at a speed of approximately 68km/sec. The meteor activity associated with this shower will slowly wane as the end of May nears.

Keep in mind, Earth's atmosphere ingests approximately 500 tons of meteoritic material a day, so you could see a meteor streak across the night sky any time during the year if it is a clear night!  The next major meteor shower is the Delta Aquarids, which starts around July 21st and lasts through about August 23rd.

Happy Sky Watching!

- Jennifer Watson

Twitter: @JWatson_Wx

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