Thursday, May 08, 2014

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower

Well I got all excited about this, didn't I. The Eta Aquariid meteor shower (made up of fragments behind left by Halley's Comet on its regular visits) was going to be clearly visible and particularly bright in the Southern Hemisphere. There are other meteor showers too, of course. In the Southern Hemisphere we can view the Orionids in October, the Leonids (visible in both hemispheres in November but this is going to be weak this year apparently) and the Geminids in December as well but this year the Eta Aquariids is supposed to be unusually spectacular so I was very tempted by it. The ABC Science website has all the details.

Great, I thought. May is often fine and we haven't had rain for so long that clear skies seemed highly probable in spite of the Bureau of Meteorology telling us there was rain on the way (I don't know about other people but I'd just about given up expecting any rain, it'd been so long since we had any). Yes, it might be a tad chilly and between 3:00 AM and 5:00 AM is a little hard to cope with but it's a minor sacrifice for something so special.

Then the clouds rolled in but that's okay, I thought. It's on for several nights. There'll be another chance. Then the cloud cover got more dense and the rain set in. So no meteor display but you know what? That's actually even better because we've had so little rain for such a long time that every drop is precious. So send 'er down, Hughie, and keep on sending it down. There'll be other opportunities to watch a meteor shower - Geminids, I'm looking at you - and in December the chance of rain is almost nil with our long and dry summer under way.

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