Mac Jonsen discusses the Eta Aquarids meteor shower. Photo: Scottie Simmonds/NewsMail
Mac Jonsen discusses the Eta Aquarids meteor shower. Photo: Scottie Simmonds/NewsMail

Early risers’ chance to see a meteor shower

IF YOU'RE up in the early hours of tomorrow morning, look up and to the east for a chance to spot the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.

Mac Jonsen, who helped build the Alloway Observatory more than 50 years ago, said there was a chance of seeing multiple meteors with six or seven "reasonably bright" in this shower.

He said for those hoping to see a meteors there was no need to use a telescope.

Caused by Halley's Comet, Mr Jonsen said this shower goes for a week with May 6 picked as the peak date.

He said the comet was also responsible for a second shower in October.

While the meteors can be seen from Bundaberg, Mr Jonsen said the only hitch was that the best time to see it was 2.30am.

But the early rise will hardly deter a committed stargazer like Mr Jonsen.

 

Mac Jonsen completes the Alloway Observatory's original dome frame.
Mac Jonsen completes the Alloway Observatory's original dome frame.

He said it all started when he was in the region cutting cane and met some local cane farmers who were equally keen on discussing astronomy.

With the help of the Fielding brothers, he said they got the land and started to build the observatory.

And while a cyclone knocked it down in the 70s, Mr Jonsen said they all got together to rebuild.

 

Bundaberg Astronomical Society members clean up at Alloway after Cyclone Beth blast her furious winds across Bundaberg in 1976, ripping away their clubhouse roof, shattering the observatory and smashing their prized dome to the ground. Countless astronomical books, some more than a century old, were destroyed. Photo contributed by Mac Jonsen
Bundaberg Astronomical Society members clean up at Alloway after Cyclone Beth blast her furious winds across Bundaberg in 1976, ripping away their clubhouse roof, shattering the observatory and smashing their prized dome to the ground. Countless astronomical books, some more than a century old, were destroyed. Photo contributed by Mac Jonsen

Mr Jonsen said there was always something about astronomy that had intrigued him, but once he got his first telescope as a child and spotted Saturn that rest was history.

While the observatory is closed amid COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Jonsen said it would look to reopen in February.


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