One in all spring’s busiest meteor showers, referred to as the Eta Aquarids, is peaking this weekend. To catch the “capturing stars,” simply step outdoors and look to the southern night time sky.
The Eta Aquarids reached their approximate peak Friday morning (Might 6), and they’ll proceed to placed on a robust displaying within the coming days, reaching as many as 30 meteors an hour. And these meteors are identified for his or her pace, reaching some 148,000 mph (simply over 238,000 km/h) as they hit our environment, NASA mentioned.
The capturing stars originate from Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley), a short-period comet that swings by way of the interior photo voltaic system each 75 to 76 years and can subsequent come by in about 2061. Throughout these visits, the comet leaves behind its personal calling card — a particles path of mud grains that Earth plows by way of each Might. The bits of particles that hit our environment will fritter away harmlessly earlier than reaching the bottom.
This meteor bathe is finest seen from the Southern Hemisphere or near the equator, however you’ll be able to nonetheless catch a glimpse of the meteors within the Northern Hemisphere, mentioned Invoice Cooke, who leads NASA’s Meteoroid Setting Workplace on the company’s Marshall House Flight Heart in Alabama.
“It is going to be fascinating to see if the charges are low this 12 months, or if we’ll get a spike in numbers earlier than subsequent 12 months’s forecast outburst,” Cooke mentioned in a NASA publish Wednesday (Might 3).
For the most effective meteor viewing, go outdoors round 3 a.m. native time after the moon has set. Whereas the meteors originate within the constellation Aquarius close to the celestial equator, it is higher to have a look at the sky’s zenith (straight up) as a way to see as many meteors as attainable.
Choose a secure location and produce a garden chair to scale back neck pressure. Transfer away from as many lights as attainable and attempt to get outdoors a minimum of 20 minutes earlier than you need to go meteor-hunting, to let your eyes alter to the darkish, based on NASA. If you wish to use your telephone or a flashlight, apply a pink filter or pink tape in order to not damage your night time imaginative and prescient.
Astrophotographers desirous to catch meteors ought to seek the advice of the newbie’s information at our sister web site, House.com. In the event you can, attempt to follow taking photos at night time earlier than the present peaks, so that you’ve an opportunity to test your settings and to verify the photographs are turning out as you need. Pleased looking!
Editor’s Be aware: In the event you snap an incredible meteor photograph and wish to share it with Reside Science readers, ship your photograph(s), feedback, and your identify and site to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comply with Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace.