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Don’t miss Meteor Showers lighting up the Morning Sky

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Don’t miss Meteor Showers lighting up the Morning Sky

At a few select times every year, the morning sky lights up with spectacular events known as meteor showers.

A meteor, also known as a shooting star, is actually a tiny piece of rock falling to Earth which lights up as it burns through the atmosphere.

A meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through a field of left-over debris, some of which is captured by our planet’s gravity.

This debris is usually left behind by a comet or sometimes an asteroid. This week’s meteor shower, known as the Eta Aquariids, is caused by Halley’s Comet.

Halley’s Comet is easily the most famous comet in the Solar System, primarily because it is one of the brightest.

Like all comets, it is on a highly eccentric orbit.

While Earth’s orbit is mostly circular and we stay at a fairly constant distance from the Sun, a comet’s orbit is more like a stretched oval.

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Halley’s Comet drifts further from the Sun than Uranus but also moves into the inner Solar System every orbit, bringing it closer to the Sun than Venus.

It takes 76 years to orbit the Sun, which means it passes near Earth and brightens our sky only once every 75-76 years.

It last did this in 1986 and the next will be in 2061 or 2062.

However, at times such as this week, we can still see the remnants of a previous encounter.

Comets are primarily made of ice and dust. As they get closer to the Sun, they are heated by the Sun and some of the dust is burned off and is left behind, in orbit around the Sun.

Comets are primarily made of ice and dust. As they get closer to the Sun, they are heated by the Sun and some of the dust is burned off and is left behind, in orbit around the Sun.

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The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is caused by some of this dust that came from Halley’s Comet hundreds of years ago.

This dust sits in the orbit of Halley’s comet and crosses Earth’s orbit twice.

As a result, Earth passes through the debris field twice a year, and thus there are two meteor showers associated with Halley’s Comet, the other being the Orionids in mid-October.

In a meteor shower, all meteors appear to come from a particular point in the sky, known as the shower’s radiant.

The Eta Aquariids get their name because the radiant lies near the star Eta Aquarrii in the constellation of Aquarius.

The meteor shower is best observed in the pre- dawn hours away from city lights.

The meteors can be observed for a few weeks in late April and early May but the peak of the shower (when Earth is in the middle of the debris field) occurs about May 6.

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The best time to observe the meteor shower will be after 4 am when the radiant is sufficiently high but the sky is still dark.

The meteors are sufficiently bright that you won’t need a telescope or binoculars.

The radiant will stay in the eastern sky until dawn so all you need to do is look to the east.

The meteors can be seen until just before sunrise.

The shower will have a peak rate of 30 meteors per hour which means you may need to wait two minutes to see another shooting star.

However, with clear skies and a bit of patience, this proves to be a rewarding experience for any space enthusiast.

Hello There I am Adeyemi Aderinsola, An author on this great site. Feel free to contact me!!

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