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Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower From Halley's Comet to Light Up May Skies Next Week -- What You Need to Know

May 01, 2017 10:51 AM EDT
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The Eta aquarids meteor shower from Halley's comet will peak on May 5. There will be about 30 meteors per hour during the peak.
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)

Eta aquarids meteor shower will light up the May skies next week. While waiting for the more spectacular Perseids meteor this August, Eta aquarids will be on full show next week,

The meteor shower usually occurs from late April to the middle of May. The shooting stars are bright enough tO be spotted in the sky.

The Eta aquarids meteor shower is expected to light the sky from April 22 to May 20. Since it hasn't surfaced yet, it is likely to start next week. During the peak of the Eta aquarids meteor shower, there will be about 30 meteors per hour, according to NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.

The peak of the Eta aquarids meteor shower may occur on May 5. The remnants originated from Eta Aquarii in the constellation Aquarius.

Those located near the equator will experience the best views of the meteor shower. However, people from other parts of the world can also enjoy watching the shooting stars from their locations. Reports say that stargazers from the Southern hemisphere will get the best view. The longer and darker nights will help highlight the meteors.

The origin of the Eta aquarids meteor shower is the 1P Halley comet. The meteors are likely to move as fast as 66 kilometers (44 miles) per second based on NASA's calculations.

"The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Eta Aquarids originate from comet 1P/Halley," a NASA official said in a report. "Each time that Halley returns to the inner solar system its nucleus sheds a layer of ice and rock into space. The dust grains eventually become the Eta Aquarids in May and the Orionids in October if they collide with Earth's atmosphere."

Comet Halley will take another 76 years to circumvent the sun. This means it won't be coming back near the inner Solar System until 2061. It was last spotted in 1986.

According to Space.com, the moon has already set before the radiant Eta aquarids rises over the horizon, eliminating the bright light from the moon. This means the trail created by the shooting stars will likely be more visible.

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