May 5, 6 and 7, 2009 Eta Aquarids
The shower has a relatively broad maximum but is expected to peak shortly before dawn on May 5 or 6. Although a waxing gibbous moon lights up most of the night, it’s not really a factor. This is strictly a predawn shower, not to take stage till after moonset! The radiant for this shower appears in the east-southeast at about 4 a.m. and the hour or two before dawn is the preferred viewing time. For the mid-northern latitudes, the rates for this shower are only about 10 to 15 per hour at maximum. Farther south, the meteor numbers increase dramatically. The broad peak to this shower means that some meteors may be seen a few days before and after the optimal date. The best time to watch is May 5 or 6 before dawn. But you’ll see some meteors before dawn on May 7 as well.