LIVE: Catch a Glimpse of Halley’s Comet Debris

By  //  May 6, 2014

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2014 Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

ABOVE LIVE STREAM: Each spring as Earth passes through the debris trail from Halley’s Comet (1P/Halley), the cosmic bits — moving at 148,000 mph — burn up in our atmosphere to create the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower. This year’s peak occurs on the night of May 5-6, with meteor rates of about 30/hour in the northern hemisphere and about 60/hour in the southern hemisphere. The first-quarter moon sets just after midnight, helping to darken the skies. Peak viewing for the shower will be from 2:30 a.m. until dawn, your local time.

eta-aquarids-180The Eta Aquarids are pieces of debris from Halley’s Comet, which is a well-known comet that is viewable from Earth approximately every 76 years. Also known as 1P/Halley, this comet was last viewable from Earth in 1986 and won’t be visible again until the middle of 2061. The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower gets its name because the radiant — or direction of origin — of the meteors appears to come from the constellation Aquarius.