'Peak streak' time for meteor shower
The Eta Aquariids meteor shower comes from cosmic material emanating from Halley's comet, shown here in 1986.
May 6th, 2011
05:29 PM ET

'Peak streak' time for meteor shower

The greatest show on Earth is in the skies this weekend as the Eta Aquariids meteor shower enters peak streak time.

The shower was at its spectacular best early Friday morning, but the wee hours of Saturday also hold promise, pending clear skies.

If you live in the northern United States, the stream of celestial glitter and unicorns that you’re envisioning may be a bit off the mark though.

Can you see them? Send us your images!

Those who live closer to the equator will get the greatest spectacle - upward of 60 meteors per hour - but in North America, you could see about half that, according to Space.com.

Why the name Eta Aquariids? It's named for the radiant, the point in the sky where the meteors appear to originate, which is the Aquarius constellation, according to Space.com.

“Each Eta Aquarid meteoroid is a piece of Halley’s Comet doing a kamikaze death dive into the atmosphere,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, quoted in Spacedex.com. “Many people have never seen this famous comet, but on the morning of May 6th they can watch bits of it leave fiery trails across the sky.”

The trails are caused by pieces of the comet burning up in our atmosphere, creating cool streaks of light.

But fear not, Americans, while it may not seem quite like a shower, the radiant will be “fairly low,” according to NASA, creating awesome “Earth grazers,” which are the long iridescent hazes you probably envision. But there still won’t be unicorns.

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Filed under: Earth • Science • Space
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Paul Foltz

    Come on Media....Let's move on. We have heard enough about OBL. I'm sure there's other news out there somewhere.

    May 6, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Really?

    Thats it!!! The mother ship is here to take us away! Get ready everone. We have to get out of here before the superpowers of the world use Al Qaeda and such to take us over!! Get ready now!

    May 6, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Not You

      O Quuan Tanjin Wan!

      May 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Abigai

    I found a ton of great viewing information on this site. Just thought I'd share. http://www.spacedex.com/eta-aquarids Hope you all enjoy the show!

    May 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sal

    Aw, but I *wanna* see unicorns!!!

    May 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. kim

    How interesting. Space invaders lol

    May 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Thor

    "the shower was at its most spectacular on Friday morning" Thanx for posting this AT 10:17AM. great timing

    May 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    Oh yea Thor? An even more spectacular show than the 10:17 one, is the shower Sandra Bullock takes. Mmmmm, yummy.

    May 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Misty Lical

    I viewed Halleys comet back in late 80's, was so spiritual, just awesome, we saw it as we flew on Halley Comet Jet Charter. This will be as dramaticc, I assume. The last vision of beautiful sparks of fire n flames emitting from spaces unknown was when I was standing behind Oprah at a Taco Bell in Chicago! She busted one loud one in line and we all where thrown 2 blocks west from the explosion of her cutting cheese!

    May 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Lol!

      May 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fffffu

      (M)ommy (m)ental (m)idget (m)oron (m)isfit

      Lol! encourage your buddy the TROLL. You are just a fool like him.

      A Mommy, a cat and a litter box!

      May 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      @Fffffew, pssst! you must be oprah's cheshire cat!

      May 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar

    @Fffffu: Shut up stupid.

    May 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzz

      LOLO! Lucifer you are a HOOT! 🙂

      May 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy

      *facepalm*

      Hi my pal the real Cesar (Lucifer)!

      My heartfelt condolences to all the people who are affected by this terrible metero shower.

      May 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. publius enigma

    Keep an eye out for Wormwood!

    May 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Forever Frontier

    Our eye have not seen and our hearts have acknowledged what is yet to be seen and acknowledged by many. Indeed,we are eternal travelers of intricate infinate space and times.

    May 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    I'm in Vancouver, so I'm generally a bit too far north to get much brilliance out of this shower. I'll have to wait till the Perseids in mid August to get my brilliant lightshow this summer. Plus, I never can expect a clear sky here.

    May 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michelle

    With all the craziness going on in the World at this time, something beautifully specatular from the Heavens is a much needed attention turner... We should all try to enjoy it while we can! You may never again have the chance... I'm just sayin'! 🙂

    May 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. huh?

    why post it AFTER the main show?

    May 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. david

    Well this past week there were eathquakes terriosts dieing meteor showers lat ww1 vet died storms plans coming down poewr outoges some ailens coming from mars. so really pepole get of ur ass and do something

    May 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
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