Annual Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower Streaks Skies Thursday and Friday, Thanks To Halley’s Comet

By  //  May 5, 2016

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Halley’s Comet won’t appear until 2061

An Eta Aquarid meteor shower puts on a show in 2013 over the Canary Islands. (Smithsonianmag.com image)

An Eta Aquarid meteor shower puts on a show in 2013 over the Canary Islands. (Smithsonianmag.com image)

(smithsonianmag.com) – Halley’s Comet won’t appear in the night skies until 2061.

But this week, look to the skies as our planet passes through the comet’s tail for a glimpse at the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower.

The meteor shower gets its name from Eta Aquarii, a star in the Aquarius constellation from which it appears to emanate.

However, like the Orionid meteor shower in the fall, the bright flashes form as bits of dust, rock and ice left in the wake of Halley’s Comet burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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While it usually takes from mid-April to mid-May to traverse the tail’s width, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will most likely peak on May 5 or 6 as our planet plows through the thickest part.

According to NASA, some meteors may be visible starting the evening of May 4.

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