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Weekend astronomical events highlighted by meteor shower

The Aquariids can be seen this weekend throughout the U.S. in the predawn hours in the southeast sky.
Weekend astronomical events highlighted by meteor shower
Posted at 3:07 PM, May 04, 2023

A couple of noteworthy astronomical events are occurring this weekend, including one that can be seen in the U.S. 

The Aquariid meteor shower will peak this weekend with an estimated 10-30 meteors shooting across the night sky per hour. According to the American Meteor Society, the shower will peak early Saturday morning. 

The best time to look, according to the AMS, will be in the pre-dawn hours. The meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, which rises in most areas across the U.S. a couple hours before sunrise. 

You can look for it in the southeast sky.

NASA said the meteor shower will continue through May 27.

The meteor shower is caused by leftover bits from the comet Halley hitting the Earth’s atmosphere. Halley was last seen by casual observers in 1986. The comet is expected to reenter the Solar System in 2061, NASA said. 

Leftover bits from Halley are also responsible for the annual Orionid meteor shower in October.

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One downside to the timing of this year’s Aquariids is it coincides with a full moon, which will dampen some of the vividness of the meteor shower. 

Speaking of the moon, a lunar eclipse is also expected this weekend, but the event cannot be seen from the continental U.S. It will occur over the skies of Australia and Asia late Saturday. 

The lunar eclipse is considered a penumbral eclipse, meaning the moon will pass through the partial shadow of the Earth, causing the moon to only dim slightly. If standing on the moon, this would be akin to looking up and seeing a partial solar eclipse. 

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