The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak this weekend, and will be a great show for skywatchers who are in the right place at the right time.
The annual display of „shooting stars” (which are actually small meteors burning up in Earth’s atmosphere) peaks overnight on May 5 and 6, coinciding with the night of the May Full Flower Moon. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to see anything but bright meteors.
However, NASA predicts a „significant burst” that could produce twice the number of typical shooting stars every hour. Space.com (opens in new tab).
The Eta Aquarids typically produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour at dawn when viewed from the Northern Hemisphere. American Meteorological Society (opens in new tab). They are often seen as „earthgrazers” as long meteors on the horizon. NASA (opens in new tab).
During the peak of the shower, the shower will appear strongest in the Southern Hemisphere at a rate of about 60 meteors per hour. That means there could be as many as 120 shooting stars per hour during Eta Aquarits’ peak hours this year.
Shooting stars produced by the Eta Aquarids are especially fast, hitting speeds of up to 146,000 mph (235,000 km/h), and they leave behind „trains” (their luminous debris) that last several seconds to minutes. to NASA.
Such sightings may be one of the best ways to experience Eta Aquarits this year, as the full moon will rise at dusk on May 5 and set at dawn on May 6, so it will light up the sky all night. However, skywatchers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand will have a distinct advantage, as there will be a small eclipse of the moon for about four hours overnight (maximum eclipse on May 5 at 1722 GMT), making meteor viewing there a little easier.
Active between April 19 and May 28 each year, Eta Aquarits is caused by debris left behind by Halley’s Comet in the inner Solar System. According to LiveScience’s sister site Space.com, this year’s possible explosion will be caused by particles ejected from a comet around 390 BC.
The Eta Aquarid meteors appear to come from near the star Eta Aquarid in the constellation Aquarius, but they can appear anywhere in the sky. The constellation Aquarius rises above the horizon a few hours after midnight as seen from the Northern Hemisphere and is highest in the two hours before dawn. Telescopes and Stargazing telescopes Actually shooting can make it difficult to see the stars; All you need is your naked eyes.
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