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Stargazing 2017: Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower From Halley’s Comet Peaks in Early May

Apr 26, 2017 12:19 PM EDT
Halley's Comet...
385551 01: Halley's Comet photographed by the Soviet Probe 'Vega' in 1986. (Photo by)
(Photo : Liaison via Getty Images)

Stargazers alert! Mark those calendars as there's another notable heavenly show coming up soon: the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. While the Eta Aquarids -- an event that occurs annually -- is lighting up the sky for an entire month, it will be at its most spectacular on Saturday, May 6.

According to a report from Space, the Eta Aquarids is one of the two meteor showers caused by the famous Halley's Comet. The occasional meteor shower will actually be visible from April 22 to May 20, but its peak will be during the night between May 5 and 6. More specifically, the best chance to see a great volume of meteors is during the hours before the dawn of May 6.

There are more popular meteor showers, but Eta Aquarids has a pretty stunning peak that dedicated skywatchers shouldn't miss. NASA revealed that at the peak of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower, observers will be able to see around 30 to 60 shooting stars per hour.

The meteors in the Eta Aquarid shower are exceptionally bright with very long tails trailing them in the sky, according to a report from Gizmodo. The impressive length of the meteors' trails is due to their speed as the Eta Aquarids reportedly move at around 148,000 miles per hour.

The hours before dawn is the darkest point of the day, so getting up early will be rewarding during the first week of May. Those in the tropical and southern hemisphere regions will reportedly have the best views of the meteor shower.

The Eta Aquarids, an effect of Halley's Comet, is named for its radiant point in the constellation Aquarius, near one of its brightest stars Eta Aquaril. The other meteor shower associated with the Halley's Comet is the Orionids, which will make its annual appearance on October.

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