By Polina porotsky
Lyrid's meteor shower may be over, but it's not your chance to see shooting stars this spring. The Eta Aquarids meteors arrived on April 19 and will be visible until May 28, with the peak at dawn on May 6.
"This year's visibility will be good," said Cook Cooper NBC News MACH, meteor expert at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "There will be no moonlight to wash the weakest meteors."
While people in the southern hemisphere will have the best chance to see the Eta Aquarids, the meteors will also offer a show for those in the United States and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere.
"All it needs is a clear, dark sky," Cooke said, adding that, weather permitting, observers can expect to see up to 40 meteors per hour during the peak.
The Eta Aquarids seem to come from the direction of a bright star called Eta Aquarii in the constellation of Aquarius. But like all meteors, they are simply pieces of dust that move at high speed and create brilliant beams of light when they hit the Earth's atmosphere and burn.
The dust particles come from the tail of a comet, in this case Halley, which approaches the Earth every 75 years in its long elliptical orbit around the sun. Halley's Comet was known in antiquity, but it got its current name after the eighteenth-century British astronomer Edmond Halley noticed periodic comet yields.
Halley's comet last appeared in 1986 and will make its next appearance in 2061. But even though the comet returns only periodically, the Earth crosses each year to produce the Eta Aquarids.
No telescopes or other observation equipment is needed to see the meteor showers. Just find a dark place with an unobstructed view of the sky and look up.
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