Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower, Expected This Week
Occurring twice each year, our planet runs into a ring of debris that is left behind by Halley's Comet. Halley's Comet creates a pair of sibling meteor showers, dazzling in the night sky.
According to a news report on Tech Times, people can actually see within the entire week the first of the two displays, which are called the Eta Aquarids. The Eta Aquarids started on the 19th of April, peaking on the 5th of May, and will end around May 28.
Dubbed as one of the fastest meteor showers, the specks of Eta Aquarids pierce the sky at approximately 148,000 miles an hour. "If you blink, you're not going to see them. They move that fast," said Bill Cooke, an astronomer with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office as cited on The New York Times.
According to Dr. Cooke, though the Eta Aquarids are not often bigger than a grain of sand, they can definitely pack a punch equivalent to a .357-caliber bullet. "That's why they leave these brilliant streaks in the atmosphere - they have a lot of energy," he explained.
The meteor showers can be obviously observed in the Southern Hemisphere over the Northern Hemisphere. South of the Equator stargazers will only witness between twenty and thirty meteors per hour during the peak. But those to the north will be able to catch only about half as much. The Eta Aquarids, for people in the Northern Hemisphere, should offer a much better performance compared to the previous month's Lyrid meteor shower, which was actually washed-out by the moon.
The opportunity to observe the glorious remnants of the Halley's Comet rain on Earth will be this coming October during the Orionid shower. Because Halley's Comet pays a visit only about every 76 years, Dr. Cooke suggested that we need to take advantage of the annual showers, or wait for it again to occur in 2061.
Since the celestial celebrity pays us a visit only about every 76 years, Dr. Cooke suggested taking advantage of the annual showers, especially if you don't want to wait until 2061.