Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Pablo Tucker
May 5, 2019

Chances are you are not planning on waking up at 3:00am this weekend - but if you do, you could be treated to a spectacular light show in the sky. Halley's Comet is responsible for the shower, which produces between 10 and 20 meteors per hour for observers in the mid-northern latitudes. They should appear during the predawn hours.

Astronomers are urging people to get out of bed in the middle of the night for the Eta Aquarids, predicted to be one of the most phenomenal displays of its kind in years.

Halley's comet only grazes the Earth's orbit every 75 years.

This year will be a particularly good year for the Eta Aquarids as the peak of the shower coincides with the new moon, meaning that dimmer meteors will be easier to see due to the lack of moonlight.

"The earth is passing through debris left by that comet", observatory manager Judith Bailey at Victoria's Ballarat Observatory told Yahoo News Australia. This is from the night of May 4 to the dawn of Sunday.

Meteor showers can have visibility around the globe.

While the moon is in a new phase and not interrupting the shower with much light, we'll likely have more clouds overhead from earlier storms each night.

The best viewing conditions on Saturday night are expected across the Pacific Northwest, central Rockies and along a region from MI to eastern Texas where cloud-free conditions will bring uninterrupted views of the meteor showers.

Just before daybreak on May 6/7 is the peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

NASA suggests that to be able to clearly view the meteor shower, find an area away from bright city or street lights. The last perihelion was in February 1986 and the next perihelion will be in 2061.

Earthgrazers, according to NASA, are long meteors that appear to skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon.

"The fast and often bright meteors make the wait for radiant-rise worthwhile, with many events leave glowing persistent trains after them". These meteors travel at about 148,000 miles per hour into the Earth's atmosphere.

Other reports by iNewsToday