A meteor shower generated by Halley’s Comet will appear this weekend

As Earth races toward the trail of debris left by Halley’s comet, the Éta Aquarids meteor shower will be visible across the globe.

Éta Aquarids appear every year between mid-April and late May, when they pass through the point in Earth’s orbit that coincides with the debris cloud leaving Halley’s Comet from its 76-year orbit, reports say. Newsweek.

The meteor shower is expected to peak on the evening of May 6, at a rate of between 10 and 30 meteors per hour.

This meteor is the result of particles left behind by the famous Halley’s comet. Discovered in the 18th century, the comet orbits the sun in a long ellipse and passes the inner solar system about every 76 years. The comet was last seen in 1986 and won’t appear again until mid-2061.

During its travels to the inner solar system, the comet is heated by the sun, so that a stream of dust and ice particles breaks off its surface. This wave of material remains in space even long after the comet has returned to the outer solar system, and as Earth passes through the patch of space that contains this debris each year, the Éta Aquarids meteor shower appears annually when enough debris is in our area. atmospheres.

The meteor shower lasts about six weeks in the spring because the position of the debris varies. But we run through the average debris position on May 5 or 6 each year, when meteor activity peaks due to peak particle concentrations. The stunning shooting stars show the particles hitting the Earth at about 71 kilometers per second and burning up in a bright explosion as they hit the atmosphere.

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Worth a look

Halley’s current orbit leaves no trace of debris coinciding with Earth’s orbit. the International Meteorological Organization This means that the meteors we see each year actually come from particles emitted by the comet centuries ago.

Éta Aquarids will be visible in the constellation of Aquarius, which in the Northern Hemisphere can only be visible on the horizon between 3 and 5 am. This makes observing more difficult for those who live in northern latitudes, as the sky begins to lighten around this time in summer. This year in particular, the meteors will be less visible due to the lunar phase, which will be full on May 5, which means that the bright light of the moon will block out the meteors.

Regardless, the number of meteorites this year could be higher than usual, thanks to Jupiter, which is currently close to Earth in its orbit and thus could give many meteorites an extra gravitational push towards our planet.

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