Tonight comes bearing gifts for enthusiast skywatchers who will have the great opportunity to witness the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. The event is expected to be easily observed from the Southern hemisphere, while those who find themselves in the Northern hemisphere might experience some visibility issues.
What is the Eta Aquarid meteor shower? The pieces of debris from the famous, most observed comet that encounters the Earth’s orbit at two places yearly and is visible only every approximately 76 years. This is Halley’s comet.
It happens that its orbit reaches the Earth’s orbit twice per year and debris enters the atmosphere to create a spectacular display each time. The meteor shower that happens in October is known as the Orionids, while the one that skywatchers are eagerly waiting for tonight is known as the Eta Aquarids.
The Eta Aquarids will peak in the night sky tonight when hopefully ideal conditions will be met to observe close to 40 “shooting stars” per hour. The name of the meteor shower was set in place as it was observed that its point of origin or radiant comes from the Aquarius constellation. The meteors that can be observed emerging from this radiant and typically looming on the horizon are known as Earthgrazers. And they seem to be a sight to remember.
For those meteor shower observers and skywatchers who cannot be present, the event will be webcasted freely by the Sloosh Community Observatory starting at 8 p.m. EDT.
Take into consideration that observing this astronomic event can be overwhelming when you think that the Halley Comet has been observed by astronomers ever since Antiquity. Thus, find a place that meets the ideal conditions and enjoy the Eta Aquarids.
Image Source: Huffington Post