The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley’s Comet, will peak this weekend. Here’s how to see it

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak this weekend

WASHINGTON – The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley’s Comet, peaks this weekend. And with only a waning moon in the sky, it should be visible.

The Eta Aquarids occur every year in early May. This year’s peak activity occurs early Sunday and between 10 and 30 meteors per hour are expected to be seen in the northern hemisphere. Viewing should be even better in the southern hemisphere. The rain will last until May 27.

Here’s what you should know about the Eta Aquarids and other meteor showers.

What is a meteor shower?

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

Most meteor showers originate from comet debris. The source of the Eta Aquarids is Halley’s Comet.

When rocks from space enter Earth’s atmosphere, the air resistance makes them very hot. This causes the air to glow around them and briefly leaves a tail of fire behind them: the end of a “shooting star.”

Bright pockets of air around fast-moving space rocks, which range from the size of a dust particle to a boulder, can be visible in the night sky.

How to see a meteor shower

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

It’s easier to see shooting stars under a dark sky, away from city lights. Meteor showers also appear brighter on cloudless nights, when the moon wanes.

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

When is the next meteor shower?

The Meteor Society maintains an up-to-date list of upcoming major meteor showers, including peak viewing days and moonlight conditions.

The next big Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower, which will peak in late July.


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