All yr lengthy as Earth revolves across the solar, it passes by streams of cosmic particles. The ensuing meteor showers can mild up night time skies from nightfall to daybreak, and if you happen to’re fortunate you may be capable to catch a glimpse.
The subsequent bathe you may be capable to see is called the Eta Aquariids, which is usually also referred to as the Eta Aquarids. Active from April 19 to May 28, it’s anticipated to be at its peak from Wednesday night time into Thursday morning, or May 5 to six.
The Eta Aquariids are one among two meteor showers from Halley’s comet. Its sister bathe, the Orionids, will peak in October. Specks from the Eta Aquariids streak by the sky at about 148,000 miles per hour, making it one of many quickest meteor showers. Its show is best seen from the Southern Hemisphere the place individuals usually get pleasure from between 20 and 30 meteors per hour throughout its peak. The Northern Hemisphere tends to see about half as many.
The Eta Aquariids are finest seen a couple of hours earlier than the solar rises, according to the International Meteor Organization.
Where meteor showers come from
If you see a meteor shower, what you’re often seeing is an icy comet’s leftovers that crash into Earth’s environment. Comets are kind of like soiled snowballs: As they journey by the photo voltaic system, they go away behind a dusty path of rocks and ice that lingers in house lengthy after they go away. When Earth passes by these cascades of comet waste, the bits of particles — which may be as small as grains of sand — pierce the sky at such speeds that they burst, making a celestial fireworks show.
A normal rule of thumb with meteor showers: You are by no means watching the Earth cross into remnants from a comet’s most up-to-date orbit. Instead, the burning bits come from the earlier passes. For instance, in the course of the Perseid meteor bathe you’re seeing meteors ejected from when its mother or father comet, Comet Swift-Tuttle, visited in 1862 or earlier, not from its most up-to-date cross in 1992.
That’s as a result of it takes time for particles from a comet’s orbit to float right into a place the place it intersects with Earth’s orbit, in accordance with Bill Cooke, an astronomer with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
How to observe
The finest approach to see a meteor bathe is to get to a location that has a transparent view of all the night time sky. Ideally, that may be someplace with darkish skies, away from metropolis lights and visitors. To maximize your possibilities of catching the present, search for a spot that provides a large, unobstructed view.
Bits and items of meteor showers are seen for a sure time frame, however they actually peak visibly from nightfall to daybreak on a given few days. Those days are when Earth’s orbit crosses by the thickest a part of the cosmic stream. Meteor showers can range of their peak occasions, with some reaching their maximums for only some hours and others for a number of nights.