Eta Aquarids: Watch Halley's Comet's 'Meteor Shower' peak in night skies

25 Novembre, 2020, 02:25 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The subsequent meteor showers can illuminate night skies from sunset to first light, and in case you're lucky you may have the option to get an glimpse. Its brightness could make it hard to see the meteors light up the sky.

Since the skies are clear, and we've steered clear from the rainy forecasts for the day, we're lined up to have a grand view of the spectacle this evening.

"However, the higher a shower's radiant appears in your sky, the more meteors you're likely to see". Those dark skies are key to seeing any meteor shower, but that's especially true with one that has fast and faint meteors. It should still be possible to see a "shooting star" here and there for those viewing from May 1 to 3 during pre-dawn hours.

There, the Eta Aquariid meteor shower is one of the best sky events of the year and, people may expect to see 20 to 40 meteors per hour. It's named for its radiant, or direction of origin, which appears to come from the constellation Aquarius.

From the northern hemisphere, the shooting stars often appear as "earth grazers" - long meteors that appear to skim the surface of the Earth near the horizon.

This year, however, the shower happens at the same time as a full waxing gibbous moon, according to EarthSky.

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If you're in Australia, then you're in luck, as that's apparently at the most beneficial angle to see the shower in full force. In Wellington, the overnight forecast is mainly cloudy with rain, the same went for Auckland and Christchurch. Every time that the comet passes our solar system, it sheds a layer of dust, ice and rock, with some of the grains colliding with the Earth's atmosphere and ending up as the Eta Aquariids in May and the Orionids in October.

"...it really is just a great reason to get outside... to enjoy something and while you are outside take a look".

Active from April 19 to May 28, it is required to be at its peak from Monday night into Tuesday morning, or May 4-5.

To find the best spot to scour the night sky, Bruce McClure from EarthSky.org suggests finding the Aquarius Constellation, and pinpointing its Y-shaped "Water Jar", which is made up of four stars, including Eta Aquarii.

"The best time to observe any meteor shower is after midnight, usually a few hours before dawn, so on the morning of the 5th, look towards the east", the Sydney Observatory's Melissa Hulbert said.

That's right, no binoculars or telescope required. "West Coast [and] some central areas [in the South Island may have visibility] but it's showers, showers, showers, and just for a change, rain", she said.

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