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Geminid Meteor Shower

How To Watch The Upcoming Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

In late April and early May, scientists claim the Eta Aquarid meteor shower will illuminate the sky all over the world, dazzling any onlookers with up to 50 meteors passing through the sky per hour. The show is actually a result of debris left behind by Halley’s Comet. 

According to experts each spring, the Earth passes through the debris trail from Halley’s Comet; one of the most famous comets in history. As bits of ice and rock enter into our atmosphere from the comet itself, they burn up into meteors, and light up the sky in what we view as a multitude of shooting stars. 

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The Earth passes through the trail of Halley’s Comet twice a year, this marks the first for 2021 and the second crossing will occur this fall and create what is known as the Orionid meteor shower. During this specific shower, however, scientists claim that the shooting stars seem to come directly from the constellation Aquarius; which is how the event got its name. 

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is known for having extremely fast stars that can travel up to 44 miles per second from our vantage point. However, don’t worry if you’re not quick enough to catch one, because most leave glowing trials behind them for a few seconds. 

The shower in total runs from April 19th to May 28th, but more times than not there will only be a handful of shooting stars every night. For the best chance of seeing one, go out before dawn on May 5th, when the shower is predicted to be at its peak. The days leading up to and following the peak will be most ideal for viewing. 

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Predawn early hours are thought to be the very best time to see shooting stars, so you’ll have to get up nice and early if you really want to see the show.

Your distance from the equator also may impact how many meteors you’ll see in the coming month. The closer you are, the more likely you’ll see shooting stars light up the sky every night. Scientists claim the Southern Hemisphere has the most prime viewing of this shower, however, the Eta Aquarids are visible all over the world, they’re just more predominant in some places. 

The next two meteor showers that will be around the same size as these two annual ones will be the Southern Delta Aquarid shower and the Alpha Capricornids shower, both of which are set to begin and peak in late July. However, the Perseid meteor shower coming up this August is projected to be one of the biggest of the year.

Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid Meteor Shower Will Light Up The Sky This December 

The Geminid Meteor Shower is known as one of the greatest astronomical shows of the year. This December, anywhere from 50 to 120 bright shooting stars will light up the sky every hour in what’s being referred to as one of the darkest winter’s of the decade; scientists are predicting incredibly dark skies with very little light pollution from the moon this winter, meaning observers will have a vibrant and clear view of the show this year. 

The Geminid meteor shower occurs every single December when the Earth is passing through a trail of debris that was left by a mysterious asteroid-like object known as the 3200 Phaethon. This is one of the few meteor showers that isn’t a result of a comet or field of comets. With up to 120 meteors per hour it’s known as one of the most “prolific meteor showers of the year,” according to experts. 

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When compared to traditional shooting stars, this meteor shower is a lot brighter and much more slow-moving, which makes it easy to spot all the moving stars illuminating the December sky. The Geminid meteors are named after the Gemini constellation, which is the most radiant point of the meteor shower according to experts.

All of the shooting stars during the shower appear to originate directly from the Gemini constellation and move outward. Stargazers located in the Northern Hemisphere will likely get a more vibrant and prolific view of the shooting stars due to the fact that the Gemini constellation moves higher up North in the winter sky when compared to the Southern Hemisphere; however, the shower will be visible in all parts of the world, some spots will just have a better view than others. 

The Geminids meteor shower occurs every year between December 4th and 17th. For this year, experts are claiming that peak shooting star activity will occur on the night of December 13th and will continue into the morning of December 14th. The shooting stars are typically their most vibrant and constant around 2 a.m., which is when the Geminids’ radiant point is at its highest and the sky is at its darkest. 

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If you’re an individual who won’t be able to survive in the cold winter night until 2 a.m., scientists claim that gazers will likely be able to start seeing the shooting stars around 9 p.m., but it likely will pick up more and more as the night progresses. 

Viewers won’t need any sort of special telescope or equipment to view the show either, just look up! The Geminids are known for being extremely bright, prolific, slow-moving, and constant, and this year the shower is scheduled for the night before the new moon, which means the bright moonlight won’t drown out the beauty of the stars as they fall. 

The biggest tip professional stargazers are giving to first time Geminid viewers is to find a spot that’s far away from light pollution sources like street lamps, large buildings, etc. You want a spot with clear skies and free of anything that may obstruct your view. Experts also claim that you should give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness so that you can really see the stars as they fall.

Meteor Shower

A Meteor Shower And Supermoon Will Peak This Week

Tonight, Monday May 4th, stargazers around the world can bear witness to an immaculate meteor shower that will lead into a supermoon  this week. The shower is referred to as “The Eta Aquarids” and it happens every year in the beginning of May. It reaches its climax tonight and in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday – May 5th- but you should still be able to see meteors throughout the whole week. 

“This shower happens to be one of if not the best in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a moderate shower for the Northern Hemisphere,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.

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Samuhel reports that if you’re living in the southern hemisphere of the planet, south of the equator, you could see as many as 40 shooting stars every hour when the shower is at its peak tonight. The American Meteor Society (AMS) is claiming that the meteors will be most visible in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and South America, however, it will still be viewable in the northern hemisphere. 

In the northern hemisphere, every individual living above the equator can expect to see around 10-30 shooting stars every hour tonight. Normally, this annual May meteor shower peaks after one night, however, this year the shooting stars will be peaking for two – tonight and tomorrow – which just happen to be the last two nights before May’s supermoon; this meteor shower always occurs in May in line with the full moon. 

Since this year the shower will be occurring during a supermoon, as opposed to a full moon, it may be difficult to see some of the meteors that are further away due to the brighter nature of a supermoon. However, you should still be able to see a decent amount of shooting stars. 

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Like with any astrological event, depending on where you live, weather and cloud coverage could be a major factor when it comes to meteor visibility. In the US specifically, it’s looking like those living on the West Coast and the South will have the most optimal and clear skies for viewing the shower tonight; based off of data from previous years relating to this specific shower, and predicted weather conditions for the week. 

States in the north/that are bordering Canada should also have relatively clear skies when compared to the middle of the country or East Coast for tonight, however, as previously stated, everyone should still be able to make a wish on at least one shooting star tonight as long as the skies remain cloud-free. Unfortunately for certain areas in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, tonight’s forecast calls for heavy rain and thunderstorms, so be sure to check your local listings if you’re unsure what your town’s weather will look like for the next few days. 

The meteor shower peaks before the supermoon itself, but remains active for a few days after its peak as well. So if it’s raining in your part of the world tonight, you still have everyday this week to possibly witness part of the shower. After Friday, however, it’s much less likely that any meteors will be in the sky. 

You don’t need a telescope to view the meteors either, just some patience and a good view of the night sky. Scientists recommend avoiding staring at the moon and look more closely at the darker parts of the sky. The moon is like the sun in the sense that it’s so bright that when you look at it for too long, it becomes pretty much impossible to see anything else in the sky. Scientists predict after midnight will be when the most meteors are in the sky, and the shower will continue to peak until dawn on Tuesday morning. 

If you miss this meteor shower, have no fear, another one of equal beauty will be occurring in late July of this year, according to the AMS. 

Pink Moon

April’s Super ‘Pink’ Moon Will Be The Brightest Full Moon Of 2020

This April, avid stargazers and night sky enthusiasts everywhere will be mesmerized by a rare lunar event that will illuminate the sky with the brightest supermoon of 2020. A supermoon occurs when a full moon happens on the same exact night that the moon reaches the closest point to Earth in its orbit. 

This month, a super “pink” moon will light up the sky on April 7th, and peak in the sky around 10:30 p.m Eastern Standard Time. Although this year’s spring supermoon is called a pink supermoon, the color of the moon itself won’t actually be pink. The event originally got that name because of the pink wildflowers, known as the creeping phlox, that bloom in the early spring, typically in coordination with the seasons full moon patterns. 

The moon itself will reflect a golden orange hue when it’s lowest in the sky, and progressively brighten to white as it rises. On average, supermoons are about 7% bigger and 15% brighter than the average full moon, so sometimes the difference is not immediately apparent to any other full moon. 

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This change in size, although slight, occurs because of the moon’s specific orbit around the Earth. The “eccentric orbit,” as referred to by most scientists, isn’t perfectly circular, so there are moments when it’s significantly closer to Earth than we even realize, like it will be this month. 

“The term ‘supermoon’ was introduced by astrologer Richard Noelle in 1979. It didn’t have much science behind it, except that he coined a term for when the moon was full, when it was 90 percent of the closest distance it could be to Earth. And a couple of years ago, it just caught on. I think it’s just because someone took the word ‘super’ and put it in front of the word ‘moon,’” said Jackie Faherty, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History.

Other whimsical nicknames for April’s own super pink moon includes the Sprouting Grass, Egg, and Fish moon. All of the names obviously were originally coined from things that remind us of spring. This year, the super pink moon is also known as a paschal moon because of how close it is to Easter. 

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Thanks to social distancing policies brought on by the recent covid-19 pandemic, most astrology lovers have plenty of time to go outside in their yard and view a multitude of cosmic events this month. Thanks to technology, there are also plenty of apps that can be downloaded onto your smartphone that allow you to point your camera at the night sky and show you, live-action, what constellations, planets, and other astrological events are occuring on any given night. 

Some other moon and stargazing events that will be occurring in April of this year include the Lyrids meteor shower, which will be peaking on April 22nd and 23rd. The planet Venus will also be visible during this month, however, it typically just looks like a brighter star when compared to other average stars; another great reason to look into some sort of sky application. 

“People can easily stargaze near their home, even in a city. Both light pollution and air pollution can impact how stars appear in the sky, but lately, air pollution has fallen as there are fewer cars on the road and fewer factories at work. The best place to observe the sky is wherever you currently are. So you don’t have to find that perfect location — it doesn’t exist,” said Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

As previously stated these astrological events will be occurring all month and into the summer, so while you may be stuck in the confines of your property lines indefinitely, at least you can step outside every night, take in the fresh air, and observe some truly historical stargazing.