Spring's best meteor shower peaks this weekend
If seeing shooting stars is on your bucket list, you may want to pencil in some free time this weekend. More specifically, early Sunday morning. Often referred to as spring's best meteor shower, the Eta Aquariids are expected to peak before dawn on Sunday, May 5th. The show is expected to be nearly as good both Saturday and Monday morning as well if Sunday doesn't work for you.This particular shower can produce upwards of 20-40 meteors per hour if your skies are clear. What makes the Eta Aquariids even more worthwhile is the fact that they move very fast through the sky, and are oftentimes quite bright. In fact, the average speed of these meteors is 152,000 miles per hour according to NASA.
Something else that makes the Eta Aquariids fascinating is the meteors are actually bits and pieces of the famous Halley's Comet!
In order to have the best chance at seeing these bright shooting stars, it's important to head away from cities and light pollution. It will take your eyes roughly 20 minutes to adjust to complete darkness, so don't be discouraged if you don't see any meteors initially.Of course, there are a couple of things that can interfere with an otherwise spectacular night of stargazing and meteor watching:
1. Will clouds and rain make viewing impossible?
2. What phase will the moon be in?Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is ideal for us here in Indiana and Michigan. The skies will likely be mainly clear Saturday night and early Sunday morning courtesy of high pressure being in place. And, regarding the moon, it will be in its "new moon" phase on Saturday, May 4th. That means there will be zero moonlight to obstruct the meteors as they zip across the sky!
Be sure to get out and view this shower because the next noteworthy one won't occur until July 28th when the Delta Aquarids peak.