Eta Aquariid Meteors Peak Now; Intense Tau Herculids Shower Possible
ACROSS AMERICA — You may still see a few Eta Aquariids meteors flying early Friday morning before dawn as the long-running shower begins to wind down. The Eta Aquariids, which the American Meteor Society calls "swift meteors that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs," have a broad peak that ends Friday morning. Through May 28 or so, don't rule out seeing a few more Eta Aquariids meteors — or meteors that have no apparent source, because meteors fly on any given night, according to NASA. "Meteors aren't uncommon," Bill Cooke, who leads NASA's Meteoroid Environmental Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, wrote in a blog on the agency's website.
Although the Eta Aquariids are typically the last sky shooting star show until summer, 2022 could see a bonus meteor shower — the Tau Herculids, which will peak overnight May 30-31. "This is going to be an all or nothing event," Cooke wrote. That's when astronomers noticed that SW3 has shattered into several pieces, littering its orbital trail with debris. If the debris makes it to our atmosphere this year, it's a special treat for North American skywatchers, who saw a more subdued version of the Eta Aquariids, which favor the Southern Hemisphere.
The moon will turn red with a total lunar eclipse — what's called a blood moon — during the late evening hours of May 15 and early morning hours of May 16, depending on your time zone. The May full moon is also known as the full flower moon. Patch will have more about the both the possible Tau Herculids meteor shower and the eclipse in the weeks to come.
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