Tonight: Bits of Halley’s Comet

Written by The Night Sky Guy on May 6, 2010 – 2:35 pm -

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is peaking tonight (into the early Friday morning hours) with a sprinkle of debris from Halley’s Comet.

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Favouring southern hemisphere observers, from a dark sky as many as 20 to 30 shooting stars may be visible. for folks in the North, we can expect more modest numbers  of 10 to 20 per hour at peak time after local midnight tonight thanks to the  Moon’s glare and the shower radiant appearing very close to the southeastern horizon.  Experts are predicting that these numbers may persist into the following night.  But there may be surprises in store. Experts at  International Meteor Organization are saying that activity could be near the peak of a theoretical 12-year cycle with rates as high as 85 per hour at peak times between 2 am and 4 am Friday. Aquarid parent, Halley’s Comet last passed by Earth in 1986, and is due to arrive again in 2061.

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