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Shooting stars and a comet on show

Shooting stars and a comet on show

Posted May 05, 2020
Environmental

If you’re a keen skywatcher and you don’t mind getting up early to gaze up you might like to set your alarm and get comfy in a dark place for a double celestial event that has Southern hemisphere astronomers excited and reaching for their binoculars, telescopes and cameras.

The Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks during early May each year and for the next few weeks Comet Swan will be visible in the early morning sky.

The annual Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower is bits of ice and space dust left behind from Halley’s Comet that free fall into Earth’s atmosphere, creating what we see as shooting stars.

Comet Swan was discovered in images taken by the Swan camera aboard the Solar Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft on March 25, 2020.

Over the next few weeks Comet Swan will brighten and move further into the dawn sky.

Due to come closest to Earth on May 12 before disappearing below the horizon around May 17 in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to those in the know a good time to check out the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower is between 4 and 5 am tomorrow morning with Comet Swan visible at about 4.30 am.

For more info about Comet Swan visit https://www.rasnz.org.nz/news-item/news-cswan