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Skywatch

Tue May 3, 2016 ETA AQUARID METEOR SHOWER

The EtaAquarid meteor shower is at peak activity the next two nights. These particular meteors are bits of dust from Halley’s Comet, plunging into our atmosphere at roughly 150,000 miles an hour, where they are vaporized, heating up the air around them and causing that momentary streak of light you see in the night sky. The best time to see this shower is from late evening until sunrise. If skies are free of interfering clouds or streetlights, go out starting about 10 PM. Face east and look up toward the top of the sky. Most people go out expecting a meteor shower to be like a fireworks display, regular and well-timed, but even the best showers can have slow moments. So don’t go out for the shower, go out to enjoy the clear night air, notice the brightnesses and colors of stars, look for familiar constellations, or make up your own star patterns. And every so often, you’ll be rewarded by the appearance of a streak of light in the sky, a shooting star or meteor.