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How to watch this weekend’s Eta Aquariid meteor shower | Science and technology news

Meteors will streak across the sky this weekend as Earth moves through the debris of Halley’s Comet.

The annual Eta Aquariid meteor shower peaks Sunday night into Monday morning, but should be visible throughout the weekend, weather permitting.

Where can you watch the show?

You should see the meteors low in the sky if you look east before dawn. They are easier to spot in the southern hemisphere, but you can still spot them in the UK.

Of course, your stargazing may depend on the weather. It’s very restless this weekend.

The Met Office says its “computer models do not agree” on where the worst weather will be in the UK.

However, their cloud cover map currently suggests that southern England will have the clearest night on Saturday and most of Wales will have the best chance on Sunday.

If you see clear skies, head out before dawn and get comfortable.

“The hunt for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game,” says the Royal Observatory Greenwich website.

“It’s best to bring a comfortable chair to sit in and wrap up warm as you might be outside for a while.”

You need to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Therefore, stay away from sources of light pollution such as street lights or houses.

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What is the Eta Aquariid meteor shower?

Named after Eta Aquarii, the star from which it appears to radiate, the meteor shower occurs every year.

Unlike most major annual meteor showers, there is no sharp peak. Instead, they are best seen on several days around this time in May.

The meteors are the debris of Halley’s Comet.

This is particularly famous because during their observation, astronomers realized for the first time that comets can pass through the solar system multiple times.

According to NASA, Halley's Comet can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry, which documents the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Image: Myrabella
Picture:
According to NASA, Halley’s Comet can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry, which documents the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Image: Myrabella

When historians looked into it, they discovered that Halley’s Comet had been spotted by humans for thousands of years. According to NASA, it can even be found in the Bayeux Tapestry, which documents the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Meteors appear in our skies when debris from space enters our atmosphere. Because of their speed, they heat up and begin to glow, leaving a trail that we can see when we look at the stars.

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