Now is a better time than ever to wish upon a shooting star, so be sure to make your way outside in the early hours of 6 May for some stargazing.
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower — which occurs from late April to mid-May — is expected to peak in the UK this week between midnight tomorrow and Wednesday, and in the US during the early hours of tomorrowNN.
"The Eta Aquarids are pieces of debris from Halley's Comet, which is a well-known comet that is viewable from Earth approximately every 76 years,” NASA said.
"Also known as 1P/Halley, this comet was last viewable from Earth in 1986 and won't be visible again until the middle of 2061."
Although the Perseid meteor shower in August may be the most popular, the Eta Aquarids offers a long stretch of shooting stars a casual observer can spot in the night sky.
Meteors occur from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. When comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them, according to NASA's website.
Rates of the meteor this year can reach up to 40 meteors per hour during that time, in theory, according to Bill Cooke, who leads NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. The shower is of medium brightness, and the darker your skies the more you'll see, Cooke told Space.com.
The best way to see the meteors, according to Cooke, is to lie flat on your back and look straight up. That way, you get the widest view of the sky, and you won't have to strain your neck.
It is also best to use your naked eye to spot a meteor shower, according to the New York Times. “Binoculars or telescopes tend to limit your field of view. You might need to spend about half an hour in the dark to let your eyes get used to the reduced light.”
With the coronavirus lockdown still in place, it may be difficult for some to go to an area with little light pollution. Still, head outside and try for a socially-distanced stargaze.
Source - INDY100