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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Meteor shower from Halley’s Comet to light up the sky

Australians will be treated to a spectacular meteor shower with streaking lights of shooting stars on display from early morning this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
 
Astronomer Dr Brad Tucker from The Australian National University said the meteor shower was from bits of rock and ice that had broken off from Halley’s Comet.
 
“These chunks of ice and rock hurtle through space at incredible speed and then burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere,” Dr Tucker said.

“It makes for an incredible display of streaking, bright lights and is one of the best meteor showers you will see all year.
 
“The meteor shower will be visible right across Australia. In the dark, you can expect to see 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour in city locations,” he said.
 
“Look toward the east and the sky should be putting on a show for you. You’ll also notice two bright objects in the sky which are the planets Saturn and Jupiter.
 
“And you don’t need a telescope. Look up, and let your eyes soak in the display.”

Those wanting to enjoy the best show should set their alarms to go off early.  

“The best time to see the meteors will be from 2.30am to 3am local time,” Dr Tucker said.

“There will be a thin crescent Moon in the sky but it won’t be that bright, which means the sky should be pretty nice and dark. 
 
“Looking further away from the Moon will allow you to see fainter meteors.”

Another astronomical event to look out for this month is the red supermoon on 26 May, known colloquially as the ‘flower moon’. Dr Tucker told Canberra Weekly ahead of last month’s pink supermoon, that the May supermoon “will also happen on a total lunar eclipse – when the moon turns red, and actually looks it”.

“That will be a special sight,” he enthused.

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