May 22, 2024

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The meteor shower Eta Aquarius, the debris of Halley’s Comet, reaches its peak this weekend. Here’s how to see it

The meteor shower Eta Aquarius, the debris of Halley’s Comet, reaches its peak this weekend.  Here’s how to see it

Washington (AFP) – The meteor shower Eta Aquaridis, the remnant of Halley’s Comet, will reach its peak this weekend. With a waning crescent in the sky, it should be visible.

Eta Aquaridis occurs every year in early May. Peak activity this year It occurs early Sunday with between 10 and 30 meteors per hour expected in the Northern Hemisphere. Viewing should be better in the Southern Hemisphere. The shower continues until May 27th.

Here’s what to know about Eta Aquarius and other meteor showers.

What is a meteor shower?

Multiple meteor showers occur annually and you don’t need special equipment to see them.

This image provided by NASA shows the Eta Aquaridids meteor streaking over northern Georgia on April 29, 2012. The Eta Aquaridites meteor shower peaks this weekend. Astronomers say it should be visible in both hemispheres. (B. Cook/Marshall Space Flight Center/NASA via AP)

Most meteor showers originate from cometary debris. The source of Eta Aquarius is Halley’s Comet.

When rocks from space enter Earth’s atmosphere, air resistance makes them extremely hot. This causes the air around them to glow and briefly leaves behind a fiery tail – the end of a ‘shooting star’.

Glowing pockets of air around fast-moving space rocks, ranging in size from the size of a dust particle to a boulder, may be visible in the night sky.

How to watch meteor showers

Meteor showers are usually most visible between midnight and dawn hours.

It is easier to see meteors under a dark sky, away from city lights. Meteor showers also appear brightest on clear nights when the moon is waning to its greatest extent.

The Southern Hemisphere will have the best view of Eta Aquarids, but only a 14% waning moon will allow clear viewing in both hemispheres, according to the American Meteor Society.

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When is the next meteor shower?

The Meteor Society maintains an updated list of Big meteor showers are comingincluding peak viewing days and moonlight conditions.

The next big event is the Aquarius meteor shower in the southern Delta, which peaks in late July.