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Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower To Grace Skies This Weekend

First Posted: May 04, 2017 05:16 AM EDT
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Halley's Comet will take another 50 years to find its way near Earth, but spectacular shooting stars can be spotted gracing the night skies this weekend. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak at the end of the week. Its best viewing times to occur overnight on Friday and Saturday morning.

At the peak of the meteor shower, sky watchers can expect to see about 30 meteors per hour. The peak should happen at the dawn of May 6. To see the shower, sky watchers in the mid-northern latitudes should look at the southern horizon to make the most of the event. According to Space.com, it will not be very high in the sky in these areas.

The best views will be for observers near the equator. The showers in the area will see the shower's radiance in the north. The nights in the Southern Hemisphere will also be longer, thanks to the upcoming June solstice that will give them the best view of the event. As it is with viewing the cosmos, however, sky watchers are advised to stay away from areas with dense light in order to see the skies at the best conditions.

To see the shower, scientists recommend lying on the back to see the widest view. The streaks from the meteors are not to be missed. According to Fox 8, Eta Aquarid is an annual event that occurs when the Earth passes through the stream of ice and dust that is left in wake of Halley's comet. This means that even if there would not be sightings of the comet for another few decades, the Eta Aquarids can show what the comet left in its wake.

Halley's comet only appears every 76 years and is not expected until 2061. Astronomers, however, can catch a glimpse of the comet -- at least, its sand grain-sized version -- during the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

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