The chances of sighting shooting stars are quite good if the weather conditions are right in early May. This is when the so-called Eta Aquariids, a cluster of meteors, reach their peak.

The maximum is expected on the night of May 5th to 6th, as the chairman of the Sternfreunde Association based in Bensheim in southern Hesse, Uwe Pilz, explains: “You can also observe a few days before, but after this date the activity falls quickly.” The following night or the night after that would still be suitable for looking for shooting stars.

The Eta Aquariids are splintered fragments of Halley’s Comet. These are fast meteors that enter the Earth’s atmosphere at around 65 kilometers per second. The Aquariids appear to come from the constellation Aquarius, hence their name. Since the constellation only appears on the southeastern horizon at the end of the night, observations only then make sense, advises Pilz. In any case, moonlight doesn’t bother us at the peak this year.

There are better visibility conditions in the southern hemisphere. But even in Germany, 10 to 15 meteors could be seen from a dark location – but according to Pilz, most of them are only weak.