The Eta Aquarids meteor shower will peak over the nights of Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5 and 6, with experts anticipating a spectacular meteor shower. However, the shower actually lasts from 24 April to 20 May, slowly building and then diminishing after the peak.
Between 15 and 40 shooting stars per hour are predicted during the peak, with the best time to see in the early hours pre-dawn.
The meteor shower is most visible in the southern hemisphere of the planet, although they will still be visible to the UK.
The Royal Greenwich Observatory gave the following advice for viewing the shooting stars: “Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game, so it’s best to bring a comfy chair to sit on and to wrap up warm as you could be outside for a while.
“They can be seen with the naked eye so there’s no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.
Great Big Lockdown Survey: Tell us what life’s like for you by answering THESE questions
“For the best conditions, you want to find a safe location away from street lights and other sources of light pollution.”
However, clouds may obscure the view of the shooting stars this week, with the Met Office forecasting grey skies all week.
The weather forecasters said: “Cloudy with outbreaks of rain in the south Tuesday, heavy and thundery at times. A few showers continuing in the west Wednesday and Thursday, otherwise mostly dry with sunny spells.”
Eta Aquarids is a result of Earth travelling through the debris from Halley’s Comet.
Halley’s Comet, arguably the most famous of all the known comets, takes 75 to 76 years to orbit the sun, but often comes close to Earth.
Create your own survey at doopoll.co
When it does come close, some of the comet’s offshoot – which are usually as small as a grain of sand – burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere allowing people to see the spectacular shooting stars.
Halley’s Comet creates one shower in May – the Eta Aquarid shower – and one in October – the Orionids meteor shower.
The comet is believed to have been first observed some 2,200 years ago but it was not until astronomer Edmond Halley in 1705 that it was officially recognised.
The astronomer was the first scientist to correctly predict the comet’s return in 1758 and Halley was honoured by having the comet named after him.
But the comet has been sighted by different civilisations “for millennia” and was even spotted during the battle of Hastings – the spectacle was stitched into the Bayeux Tapestry.
Source: Read Full Article