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The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. Here's how to watch the show



The Eta Aquarid meteor shower as seen from Chile.


Yuri Beletsky / Spaceweather.com

If you missed April's Lyrid Meteor Shower you have another chance this week to catch some "shooting stars" as the remains of a famous comet burn up in the night sky. .

The Eta aquarids are expected to peak on Tuesday and Wednesday May 5-6.

Every year around this time, Earth floats through a stream of debris left by Halley's Comet. Scraps of dust, stone, and other debris heat up when they collide with our atmosphere, creating the fleeting trails and the occasional fireball visible to the naked eye.

According to NASA, the meteors appear to come from the constellation Aquarius and more precisely from the region of the constellation near one of the brightest stars, Eta Aquarii, which is how the shower gets its name.

Unfortunately, the shower has some competition this year. It falls just before the last supermoon of 2020 .

"Intense brilliance from one of the largest full moons of the year will reduce the number of visible meteors from the usual 40 an hour to no more than 1

0 or 15 an hour," writes astronomer Tony Phillips.

But if you're looking for a reason to go outside, that's still not a bad show for a meteor shower.

Phillips says the best time to spot the Eta Aquarids is to get up early, an hour or so before sunrise when Aquarius is high in the eastern sky.

"Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning are both good. Halley & # 39; s debris flow is wide enough to spread the shower over two days. "

In general, the further south you are, the better your view of this shower will be. Good news, Australia !

Plan to see the show as close as possible around 4 or 5 am Find a location away from light pollution with a clear view of the sky Lie down, let your eyes get used to the dark and just relax. If you can orient yourself to look at Aquarius, that's great, but if you have a wide enough view of the sky, you should be able to catch meteors without locating the constellation.

Enjoy the fire in the air, preferably at least six feet away from other skywatchers.


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