(ORDO NEWS) — There is something wonderful about sitting under the night sky watching a meteor shower overhead. However, it is common for people in the Southern Hemisphere to see remnants of it, with most meteor showers favoring those in the Northern Hemisphere.
However, every year in May, observers in the southern hemisphere can observe the Eta Aquariid meteor shower (Eta Aquarids). This year the conditions promise to be perfect.
The predicted peak of Eta Aquariid in 2022 is on the morning of Saturday, May 7th. The moon is far away, so the meteors will not lose their brilliance. Meteor velocity usually remains high for about a week (May 4-11). So if Saturday morning is overcast, try looking up into the night sky on Sunday or even Monday.
To see the meteor shower in all its glory, you need to get up early in the morning and get away from the bright city lights. Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness.
You don’t even need a telescope! To see meteor showers, you will need to observe a wider part of the sky. Using a telescope or binoculars would make the spectacle nearly impossible to see.
As the Earth revolves around the Sun, it constantly collides with dust and debris from comets and asteroids. Every April and May, the Earth crosses the river of dust left behind by the famous comet 1P/Halley for six weeks.
Every 76 years or so, Halley’s Comet approaches the Sun. Its icy surface heats up until the ices evaporate in a process called “sublimation”. This envelops the comet in a gaseous coma that is blown away from the Sun, forming the comet’s tail.
Gas escaping from Halley’s surface carries dust particles that gradually spread along the comet’s orbit. Some move ahead of the comet, while others lag behind.
Over thousands of years, the space around Halley’s orbit became thick with dust particles. The comet, in fact, is moving through a dirty blizzard of its own production! And every year the Earth passes through this wide river of dust, giving birth to the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.
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