·

Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks – May 5/6, 2015

eta-aquarid-meteor-shower-peaks-may-5-6-2015

This year's Eta Aquarids, known for their speed, peak during the early morning hours of May 5 – 6. Traveling at about 66 km/s (148 000 mph) into Earth's atmosphere these meteors are leaving glowing trains (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes.

This is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak, which favors southern hemisphere observers. Sadly, the nearly full moon will be a big problem this year blocking out all but the brightest meteors.

In the northern hemisphere, the rate can reach about 10 to 30 meteors per hour, where they can be seen as "earthgrazers" – long meteors that appear to skip the surface of the Earth at the horizon.

The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Eta Aquarids originate from comet 1P/Halley. Each time that Halley returns to the inner solar system its nucleus sheds a layer of ice and rock into space. The dust grains eventually become the Eta Aquarids in May and the Orionids in October if they collide with Earth's atmosphere.

Image credit: ESA/Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research.

Comet Halley takes about 76 years to orbit the Sun once and the last time it was seen from the Earth was in 1986. It will not enter the inner solar system again until 2061. Its dimensions are 16x8x8 km and it is one of the darkest, or least reflective, objects in the solar system, with an albedo of 0.03.

Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

Featured image: Eta Aquarid by Rocky Raybell (CC – Flickr)

If you value what we do here, open your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.

Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.

All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.

You can choose the level of your support.

Stay kind, vigilant and ready!

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.