It will be one of the exceptional days spread throughout the year when skywatchers may see a meteor shower as a number of flares are expected to explode through the darkness on Wednesday night into Thursday early.
During our planet’s orbit around the sun, our planet collides with a debris field left by ice comets or stony asteroids on their way around the solar, causing meteor showers. In the atmosphere, these tiny particles burn up, leaving behind a path of brilliant lights behind them. Because of the regularity of orbital physics, each particular meteor shower occurs at around the same time each year.
The Eta Aquariids, also known as the Eta Aquarids or the Eta Aquariids, are the most recent shower to occur. Since April 15, they’ve been active, and they’ll be active until May 27, but they’ll be at their height from May 4 to 5, or late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
The Eta Aquariids, along with the Orionids, are one of two showers that originate from the debris field of Halley’s comet that occur in October and November. Debris will enter the atmosphere above the Earth’s equator, which means it will be visible in both hemispheres of the globe.
There will be little moonlight available during peak hours, which should be between 3:00 a.m. and sunset on May 5. For around a week before and after that day, though, the shower should be very active. In previous years, the Eta Aquariids have been capable of producing between 45 and 85 meteors per hour under dark skies.
And there will be more meteor showers in the future. The Times’ list of big showers predicted in 2022 can be found here, and you can also sync our curated collection of key space and astronomy events with your own digital calendar by visiting our website here.
The ideal approach is to go as far away from artificial light sources as possible by heading out to the countryside or into the woods. People who live in rural regions may enjoy the option of just walking outdoors to relieve themselves. However, those who live in urban areas have alternatives as well.
Many cities have an astronomy organisation that takes care of a dark sky region that is open to the public. “I would recommend getting in touch with them and finding out where they are,” said Robert Lunsford, the secretary-general of the International Meteorological Organization.
When the sky is at its darkest, after midnight but before daybreak, meteor showers are often the most visible. Wait 30 to 45 minutes after you get at your viewing spot in order to witness the most number of meteors as possible. This will help your eyes to get used to the darkness. Then take a deep breath and take in a wide swath of the night sky around you. The finest conditions are provided by clear nights, higher altitudes, and periods when the moon is small or absent. A decent rule of thumb, according to Mr. Lunsford, is “the more stars you can see, the more meteors you can see.”