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Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower - Remnants of Halley

5 May 2010, 04:35 UTC
Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower - Remnants of Halley
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The 2010 Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on May 7, 2010. The shower can be seen from San Antonio, but the southern hemisphere is favored, receiving twice as many meteors as the what we will receive here. Taking moonlight into account, forecasters estimate a maximum of 30+ visible meteors per hour. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the hours just before local sunrise.

Eta Aquarids are flakes of dust from Halley's Comet, which last visited Earth in 1986. Although the comet is now far away, well beyond the orbit of Uranus, it left behind a stream of dust. Earth passes through the stream twice a year in May and October. In May we have the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, in October the Orionids. Both are caused by Halley's Comet.

The shower is named after a 4th-magnitude star in the constellation Aquarius. The star has nothing to do with the meteor shower except that, coincidentally, meteors appear to emerge from a point nearby. Eta Aquarii is 156 light years from Earth and 44 times more luminous than the Sun.

The constellation Aquarius does not rise very far above the horizon in the northern hemisphere, and ...

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