Global Geological And Climatic Events

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower and how it can be spotted


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower, Halley’s Comet

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Eta Aquariid meteor shower, an annual event, will reach its peak on May 5 and 6.
  • This meteor shower is a result of Earth intersecting with the debris trail left by Halley’s Comet during its orbit.

Halley’s Comet

  • Halley’s Comet is a short-period comet visible from Earth every 75–79 years.
  • It was last seen in Earth’s skies in 1986 and was met in space by an international fleet of spacecraft. It will return in 2061 on its regular journey around the Sun.

What are Meteoric Showers?

  • Meteors, fragments of dust, rock and ice, are expelled from comets during their celestial orbits around the sun.
  • The Earth’s atmosphere heats these space rocks as they descend, leaving luminous streaks of gas in their way.
  • NASA’s records confirms existence of over 30 meteor showers annually.

Origin of Meteor Showers:

  • Meteor showers originate from comets, remnants of the solar system’s formation composed of dust, rock, and ice.
  • Comets orbit the Sun in highly elliptical paths, and as they approach, they heat up, releasing gases and dust to form a glowing head and a tail stretching millions of miles.
  • When Earth traverses through the debris left behind by comets along their orbital plane, we witness meteor showers.

About Eta Aquariids

  • Known for their rapid speed, Eta Aquariid meteors produce long, glowing tails lasting several minutes.
  • Observers in the Southern Hemisphere can witness approximately 30 to 40 meteors per hour during the peak, while those in the Northern Hemisphere may see around 10 meteors per hour.
  • They seem to originate from the Aquarius constellation, hence the name ‘Eta Aquariid.’


[2014] What is a coma, in the content of astronomy?

(a) Bright half of material on the comet

(b) Long tail of dust

(c) Two asteroids orbiting each other

(d) Two planets orbiting each other

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch