More meteors in the skies

Pablo Tucker
July 2, 2020

"This is a good one to see from the southern hemisphere, but you'll need to be up in the early morning hours", says Prof Michael Brown, an astrophysicist at Monash University in Melbourne.

But Horner said the dust from Halley hitting the Earth now is likely not from the comet's last venture here, but from a fly-by thousands of years ago. The last time it was seen was in 1986 and it won't make another appearance in the inner solar system until 2061.

A meteor shower is expected this Cinco de Mayo.

According to NASA, every year, when Earth collides with the comet's orbit, a vaporizing debris field comes flying into our atmosphere at the astounding speed of 148,000 miles per hour.

Viewing in the Southern Hemisphere is preferable but not necessary.

The showers have been visible since April 19, but will peak between May 4 and May 6, when as many as 50 meteors an hour could appear.

It can be very helpful if you try to locate the radiant or the exact point at which the meteors will be appearing to emanate, which will be inside the Aquarius constellation in the eastern sky. The constellation is not the source of the meteors.

On Tuesday night, Horner captured a photograph of an Eta Aquarids meteor close to newly discovered Comet Swan.

Mr McClure said: "Eta Aquarii is one of the four stars making up the Y-shaped Water Jar asterism in the northern part of Aquarius".

While the meteors appear to originate from Aquarius, they are best seen 30 degrees away from origin, so be sure to keep careful watch across the whole sky.

Having seen her fair share of meteor showers, Lord said it is an awesome sight to see, especially if you spot rare, bright pieces of debris.

In addition to the almost-full moon lighting up the sky, there are now three bright planets to contend with. But if you're up early tomorrow morning, you might clap eyes on some "celestial fireworks" without any visual aids.

"Like I say, you have to be looking in the right place at the right time, so I always feel a bit sad if my colleagues remark "ooh, meteor" and I don't have time to look around before it's gone!"

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