Science

Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this weekend”

Eta Aquarids, the brightest meteor shower in the Southern Hemisphere is peaking this weekend.

On May 5, a very slender crescent moon will set just after 8 p.m., creating a blank, dark canvas for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Halley's Comet is responsible for the shower, which produces between 10 and 20 meteors per hour for observers in the mid-northern latitudes.

"The meteors are most abundant in the hours leading up to dawn", said Dave Samuhel of Accuweather.

Eta Aquarid meteors are expected to be visible during the pre-dawn hours.

The cause of the Eta Aquarids is the famous Halley's Comet, named after Astronomer Edmund Halley who first determined in 1705 that the comet was periodic.

The showers typically peak in early May and this year they are expected to peak this weekend.

"The earth is passing through debris left by that comet", observatory manager Judith Bailey at Victoria's Ballarat Observatory told Yahoo News Australia.

Storm clouds and rain across the eastern United States region won't allow watchers to view the meteor shower, and it will be the same for those located in the Upper midwest and California.

The meteor shower can be seen Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th.

"It's in October and that event is known as the Orionids meteor shower because it comes out of the constellation Orion, but the May one is usually the best one to see". The last perihelion was in February 1986 and the next perihelion will be in 2061.

Getting away from the city and light pollution will provide a better view. Fortunately, light from the new moon won't wash out the view of the meteor shower.

Come prepared with warms clothes and something comfortable to lie on or sit in.

Earthgrazers, according to NASA, are long meteors that appear to skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon. They have a speed of 66km/s into the earth's atmosphere.



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