How To Watch Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower This Week

Posted: May 3 2017, 8:49am CDT | by , Updated: May 3 2017, 8:56am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
How to Watch Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower This Week
Credit: NASA

Eta meteor shower will reach its peak before dawn on May 6

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will put on a spectacular display on skies as it peaks in early Saturday morning.

Although Eta meteor shower starts in the month of April, the best viewing days will be May 5 and 6. In general, the meteor shower has a reputation for being relatively faint and swift, travelling at about 148,000 miles per hour into Earth’s atmosphere.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, also known as Aquarids, is produced by the dusty debris left behind by Halley's Comet. Halley’s Comet is a periodic comet that flies past Earth almost every 75 years. The last time the comet was seen in Earth’s vicinity in 1986 and it won't enter our solar system again until 2061 but its remnants continue to dazzle the night skies every year.

The Eta Aquarids are one of two annual meteor showers that come from the debris of Halley's Comet. The other one is Orionid meteor shower, which takes place in October every year.

As the name suggests, Eta meteor shower likely originates from Eta Aquarii, one of the brighter stars located in the constellation Aquarius.

The Eta meteor shower will be primarily visible in tropics and in the Southern Hemisphere but skywatchers in Northern Hemisphere can also enjoy the celestial show. Observers will not require any special equipment to watch this meteor shower. All they need are dark, open skies away from the bright city lights. Permitting clear skies, people in Northern Hemisphere can expect to see 30 meteors per hour. Most number of meteors will be visible before the dawn of May 6.

The visibility of a meteor shower greatly depends on its apparent radiant, which is the point in the sky from which meteor appears to originate. The higher a shower's radiant point is in the sky, the more meteors you can see. Since the radiant won't be very high in the skies of Northern Hemisphere, people in the region will not be able to see meteors in same number as Southern Hemisphere.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be followed by July 30 Delta Aquarids and 12 August Perseid meteor shower – one of the brightest annual meteor showers.

Source: EarthSky, Space.com

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