One of spring’s top skygazing events is coming next week: the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which comes from the debris trail of the famed Halley’s comet.
This year, the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquarid meteors to fall before dawn on Wednesday, May 5, according to EarthSky.org.
“But don’t discount May 4 or 6, either or both of which might provide a good sprinkling of meteors, too,” EarthSky’s Bruce McClure said.
Eta Aquarid meteors, also called the Aquarids, are known for their speed, according to NASA. These meteors are swift – traveling at about 148,000 mph into Earth’s atmosphere. Fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” (bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) that last for several seconds to minutes.
The shower favors the Southern Hemisphere because the point in the sky where the meteors appear to come from is in the constellation Aquarius, which is higher in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere. However, folks in the Northern Hemisphere can still see and enjoy the shower, with some 10 meteors per hour expected at its peak.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice