May 21, 2024


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Look for the dazzling Eta Aquaridus meteor shower on Sunday and Monday

Look for the dazzling Eta Aquaridus meteor shower on Sunday and Monday

Washington – May begins with the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, and experts expect a better show than in recent years, according to a report published by Newsweek. American Meteor Society.

During the period when the meteor shower is expected to reach its peak – in the early morning hours of Sunday and Monday, according to the website EarthSky – The moon in the new moon phase will be only 6% illuminated. Experts suggest monitoring the sky between 2 and 5 a.m. local time.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is often considered the best meteor shower of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, with sky watchers able to see 20 to 40 meteors every hour, or perhaps more, according to EarthSky. In the Northern Hemisphere, observers can expect to see between 10 and 20 meteors in the hours before dawn, according to the American “space” website. NASA.

The source of the Eta Aquarius meteor shower is Halley's Comet. Earth crosses the comet's orbital path each spring between April and May, causing tiny grains of rock and dust rained down by the comet to hit our planet's atmosphere and create a dazzling meteor display. This happens again in October, resulting in an orionid meteor shower.

Halley's Comet was last seen across Earth's night sky in 1986, and will swing by again in 2061 as it travels a 76-year orbit around the sun.

The meteors appear to come from the northeastern part of the constellation Aquarius, which contributes to the shower's name.

The rate of visible meteors per hour is expected to increase this year due to debris being moved by Jupiter closer to Earth, according to the American Meteor Society. “This last happened in 2013, when interest rates were significantly boosted.”

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Astronomers expected higher rates of Eta Aquarius in 2023, but the full moon outshines the meteors, and scientists have been unable to verify whether the enhancement has occurred. But with no lunar interference in sight, the rate of visible meteors could double if enhancement occurs, according to the American Meteor Society.

If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive somewhere that's not full of city lights that might obstruct your vision.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look up straight. Give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness – without looking at your phone – so that the meteors are easier to spot.

The American Meteor Society invites spectators to come along Share their observations of pigeonsThis will help astronomers determine whether there are more meteorites than expected.

“Eta Aquarius will provide a good opportunity to see the strongest activity from this source until the 2040s,” according to the American Meteor Society. “We strongly encourage everyone with clear skies to observe during this time and share their observations. We wish you good luck and look forward to seeing your results!”