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Meteor Shower Created by Halley’s Comet is on Display

May 5 2014, 8:50am CDT | by , in News | Other Stuff

Meteor Shower Created by Halley’s Comet on Display
Getty Images
 
 

A meteor shower got created by Halley’s Comet. It is there now in the sky in all its glorious display of dots of light

A meteor shower will appear in the night sky today. And it is a creation of the debris left by Halley’s Comet. For those who cannot view it due to clouds, the action can be seen live on the Internet

The meteor shower which has been dubbed Eta Aquarid will make a show of pinpoints of light and astronomical beauty sometime during the night of May 5th and will last till the early morning of May 6th. 

The shooting stars will amuse the audience of stargazers to no end. In the north, people will be able to gaze at up to 30 meteors per hour while in the south over 60 meteors will be visible on an hourly basis. 

The Slooh Community will be observing it all and the scenario will be presented online. Astronomical expert Bob Berman will give comments along with the beautiful vista in the night sky. 

"What makes this shower somewhat special is that the meteors stem from the most famous comet in all of history, Comet Halley," Berman said in a statement. 

"As Halley goes around the sun in its 76-year orbit, pieces of it, little chunks of ice, slough off the comet and we intersect that every year around this time, in early May."

NASA states, "Best viewing for the shower will be from midnight until dawn (your local time) with peak rates occuring between 3-5 a.m. On the night of May 5-6, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will offer a live Ustream view of the skies over Huntsville, Alabama on this page. Currently skies are predicted to be clear over Huntsville that evening."

The really amazing fact is that most of this meteor shower has been generated from the historically famous Halley’s Comet. In its path around the sun, Halley’s Comet lets loose some detritus that gets transferred elsewhere. 

It sometimes finds its way into the earth’s outer atmosphere. While the sky is empty now, when nighttime comes it will be a different story. 

And the moon is reaching its sliver-like condition so it won’t be presenting any problems as regards the viewing pleasure of the people. The Eta Aquarid is just one of two such meteor showers generated by Halley’s Comet. 

The other one is termed the Orionid meteor shower and it is different from this one. There have been many sightings of meteors coming close to the earth’s atmosphere yet most of them burn up before they get a chance to hit the ground. It is very rare for meteors to actually strike the soil of the earth. 

NASA meteor scientist Bill Cooke, who heads the Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall center, told Space.com in an email: "The moon will be waxing crescent so there will be not much interference for early morning meteor observers."  

 

"2014-2016 appears to be at the minimum, so I would not expect the [zenith hourly rate] on the peak night to be much above 40 per hour (maximum on a "good" year is over 80 per hour). However, we can always be surprised, and the good news is that the Eta Aquarid shower has a broad maximum, with the rates above 20 for a few days before/after the peak night."

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