5.04.2014

HALLEY'S COMET: COSMIC LITTER METEOR SHOWER ON MAY 6


Early Tuesday morning (May 6), just before dawn begins to light up the eastern sky, stargazers have an opportunity to see a meteor shower made up of debris from one of the most famous of comets in history: Halley's Comet.

Halley's Comet made its last pass through the inner solar system in 1986 and it's not due back until the summer of 2061. Nonetheless, each time Halley sweeps around the sun, it leaves behind a dusty trail — call it "cosmic litter" — that ends up trailing behind the comet.


And as it turns out, the orbit of Halley's Comet closely approaches the Earth's orbit at two places. The first point comes now, in early May, producing the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. The other point occurs in the middle to latter part of October, producing a meteor display known as the Orionid meteor shower. [The 2013 Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower: Amazing Photos]

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