Monday, May 5, 2014

Here "Cometh halley's" Dust!!!

Here "Cometh halley's" Dust!!!

On 5th of May, as the earth while obediently circling its parent star for billions of years (making kepler so proud of the heritage which he had inherited from his guru “Tycho Brahe!!!!) comes across a patch of its orbit where Comet Halley spewed dust during its so many earlier visits to Sun, something is going to happen for the watchers of the heavens!! Yes you guessed it right, a meteor shower associated with Comet Halley - Eta Aquarids is going to peek on 5th May.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is the first of two showers that occur each year as a result of Earth passing through Halley's Comet debris, with the second being the Orionids. The point from where the meteors appear to radiate is located within the constellation Aquarius. Sadly, this location is a bit of a drawback to shower observers as this area in sky only rises an hour or so before morning twilight begins whereas usually when one observes Meteor shower, the radiant is quite high in sky during early morning.

Every year, the earliest Eta Aquarids can be seen around April 21 and they persist until about May 12; however, the number of meteors you are likely to see will be low until around the time of the peak on May 5/6. At this time, observers are likely to see about 10 meteors every hour.

Moon will not be interfering with the shower as it would set by midnight.

Eta Aquarid meteors are known for their speed. These meteors are fast -- traveling at about 66 km/s (148,000 mph) into Earth's atmosphere. Fast meteors can leave glowing "trains" (incandescent bits of debris in the wake of the meteor) which last for several seconds to minutes. The Eta Aquarids are viewable in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the pre-dawn hours. The Southern Hemisphere is preferable for viewing the Eta Aquarids as The constellation of Aquarius is higher up in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere than it is in the Northern Hemisphere. The Northern Hemisphere has an hourly rate of only about 10 meteors. This is due to the location of the radiant at different latitudes.. In the Northern Hemisphere, Eta Aquarid meteors can be seen as "earthgrazers." Earthgrazers are long meteors that appear to skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon.

Rest of the info about What are meteor showers and how to observe these can be found in my earlier articles.

C B Devgun, President, SPACE Foundation

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