Look up! Annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks early Sunday morning

The meteor shower comes from debris from Halley’s Comet.

Michele Powers

May 3, 2024, 1:35 AM

Updated 16 days ago


The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be peaking this weekend early Sunday morning on May 5. Unfortunately, the weather might just get in the way this year.
This meteor shower comes from debris from Halley’s Comet. The best time to view this shower is after midnight and during the pre-dawn hours. The shower is best visible for a few days on either side of the peak. It’s possible to see them through the end of the month.
The Eta Aquarids are a strong shower when viewed from the Southern Tropics. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, they produce fewer meteors. Rates may go as high as 30 per hour, but in the tri-state area, it will be much less and below 10 per hour. This shower is known for swift meteors with trains, as well as a few large fireballs.
Halley’s Comet is now at its farthest point from the sun and won’t return to the inner solar system until 2061. It was last seen in 1986, but the debris trails that produce the shower were left hundreds of years ago. The Earth will run into more debris from Halley's Comet in October to form the Orionid Meteor Shower.
The light pollution in the tri-state area can make all meteor showers difficult to view. Those who wish to see it should try to find the darkest patch of sky away from city lights. You don’t have to look directly at the radiate point, just look up. For this particular shower, the radiant point is the constellation Aquarius.
It may take a little while for your eyes to adjust, so grab the lawn chairs or blankets and get comfortable. Dress warmly, even though it’s now spring, temperatures at night can get cool especially when the sky clears.

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