Posted in: Science

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower To Peak Between May 5 and 6

aquarid-meteor-shower-2012-peak-may-5-and-6

While the supermoon will undoubtedly be the main attraction in the night sky tonight, there’s another reason to keep your eyes fixed on the stars over the weekend: the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which is expected to kick into high gear tonight.

Eta Aquarid meteors, apart from making for a nice visual treat, are a little more special than most meteor showers: they’re fast-moving (roughly 148,000 mph), they tend to leave large streaks in the sky, and they’re actually fragments of Halley’s Comet.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower may not be too much of a show–scientists are expecting only about 10 meteors per hour, and that’s assuming you can even see it. The supermoon is expected to be bright enough to wash out the smaller meteors on Saturday.

Still, there will be a show to be seen in the night sky over the weekend, and don’t let the supermoon keep you from looking elsewhere for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

“Our fireball cameras have already detected four bright ones. So I would say that the odds are pretty good that folks can see a bit of Halley’s Comet over the next few days, if they care to take the time to look,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. “They will be the big and bright ones, fewer in number with a rate of just a few per hour, but they will be there.”

The best time to view the meteor shower is in the very late / early morning hours, a few hours before dawn. For the best look at the Aquarid meteor shower, scientists suggest going to an area far away from city lights, ideally with crystal clear skies.

Will you be checking out the Eta Aquarid meteor shower? What about the supermoon?

[Image credit: NASA/MSFC/B. Cook]

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Comments

9 Responses to “Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower To Peak Between May 5 and 6”

  1. Frankie Pardue

    These are actually fragments of Halley's Comet. Best viewed the early hours before dawn. You can also check this out on "Space.com".

  2. Gena Waggoner Kyllo

    I'm looking forward to seeing the harvest moon. I love the full moon year 'round, but to see it at its closest to earth will be beautiful. Fingers crossed for a clear night sky!

  3. Anonymous

    Great story – too bad it's so full of felgercarb. The "harvest moon" is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox (around September 21). The "Supermoon" is the full moon when it occurs at perigee, or its closest approach to Earth as it orbits our planet. Also, it would have been helpful if the story included a note as to where in the sky to watch for the meteor shower. The sky's a big place, but the meteors will have a specific radiant, that being the constellation Aquarius. So you have to look in that general direction to see them. Still, not bad for an 8th grade science report.

  4. Sammy Busby

    Anyone have any idea what direction I need to look to see teh meteors?

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