What if we look at the stars for a moment? In fact, it's the best possible time. Why? From Halley's comet, Eta Aquarids, meteor shower. And it reaches its maximum splendor in the first days of May each year. And this year 2020, the conditions for recognition of the show may be better than on other occasions.
Those who can stay awake until dawn have an advantage. Thanks to the pandemic, it will likely be the majority. Another side effect of this is a clearer sky due to the low pollution in the cities. This benefits the best observation of the sky at night. And since it coincides with the passage of the earth through the wreckage of Halley's comet, which creates the rain of the Eta-Aquarids, we have a perfect cocktail.
Quick, very quick
These meteors are quick. They move 66 kilometers per second in the earth's atmosphere. "The surprising data is no less provided by NASA.
At peak times, Eta-Aquarids usually see up to 30 meteors per hour. When? Well, this week and especially in the early morning of May 5th. You don't need any special equipment to see a meteor shower, also known colloquially as a star shower. It is enough to just watch the sky.
However, it is preferable to be at a point where the entire range of the sky is visible. It is common for Eta Aquarids to be sighted in areas close to the horizon. The biggest sightings this year will peak in the early hours of May 5th. They usually occur in the hours before sunrise, but they start to become visible at midnight.
"After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adjust and you will start seeing meteors. Be patient: the show lasts until dawn, so you have plenty of time to look at it," says NASA.
In the case of Latin America, the countries of South America have better viewing prospects due to the position of the constellation from which they originate (two thirds more than in the north of the continent). "The constellation Aquarius, home of the radiant Eta-Aquarids, is higher in the sky in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere," explains NASA.
In good conditions, this meteor shower can be seen both in the north and in the south.
Eta Aquarids come from Halley's comet. It orbits the sun about every 76 years. At the moment it is deep in the depths of the solar system. His next appearance on earth will be in 2061.
"When comets approach the sun, they leave a dusty trail. Earth travels through these debris paths every year. This allows the parts to collide with our atmosphere and dissolve to create fiery, colorful streaks in the sky," says NASA.
The particles that make up this meteor shower are not from the last time that Halley's comet crossed the neighborhood of the earth (1986). They are the ones who separated from the comet hundreds of years ago.
They currently come from an area near the bright star Eta Aquarii, which is why they are called Eta Aquarids. The Eta Aquarid period runs from April 21 to May 20 of each year. Halley's comet meteor shower has started.