A meteor shower is one of the greatest celestial events that people are able to view right from Earth. While some can be seen with the naked eye, others have to be seen through a telescope. But regardless of how meteor showers are viewed by humans, each one is special in its own way.
Every year around late April to early May, the Eta Aqaurids meteor shower streaks across the sky. This meteor shower is caused by icy pieces of Halley’s Comet breaking off and burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. These pieces separated from the comet close to hundreds of years ago, but are just now visible from Earth. The actual comet is only visible to those on Earth every 76 years, so it won’t be until 2061 until the next viewing. The last viewing was in 1986. It is the only comet that a person may view twice in their lifetime.
The Eta Aquarids got its name because the meteor shower always appears to travel from the star Eta Aquarii, which is in the Aquarius constellation in the Northern Hemisphere.
This year’s shower will peak early Wednesday morning, with a rate of close to one meteor per minute. Unfortunately, this year, the moon may obscure part of the shower, which means viewers may not get to really experience how spectacular the event is and has been in past years. There have been a few instances where there was a new moon, making the shower favorably viewable, but not this year. The best location to view the shower is away from the city’s light pollution.
If viewers miss the Eta Aqaurids meteor shower , they can always catch another one later in the year. The Orionoids is another meteor shower that is the result of debris falling from Halley’s Comet. The Orionoids meteor shower gets its name because it appears to be traveling from the Orion constellation. It can be viewed in late October and lasts about one week.
From now till October when the Orionoids appear, there are about eight other meteor showers that will be visible throughout the summer months.