Monday, 4 May 2020

The sky tonight by Karen Smith,

Dear Blogger

Message from Karen Smith, Little Ness Astronomer.

From midnight onward tonight, peaking tomorrow and around until the 7th of May, if it stays clear, we could spot meteors from the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.  We might not be in for such a good show as the moon will be bright, but you never know.  These are fragments of Halley's comet breaking up in our atmosphere.  Look towards the east in the constellation of Aquarius.  Map attached to help locate it. The arrows indicate the points the meteors will come from.

If it does stay clear we might be able to see comet Atlas this month.  There have been reports of it getting dimmer and astronomers are not sure why yet.  It's hard to accurately predict what path a comet will take because as they are giving off gasses and or water vapour as they travel, this can affect their course and how bright they are.  I've pinched the attached picture from Astronomy Now magazine which will give you an idea of where to look in the night sky.  It probably won't look like the picture suggests, more than likely it'll be a fuzzy spot in the sky, but we won't know until we spot it so at least you'll know what it is.  Also please ignore the white spots above the comet in the middle picture.  It's nothing exciting, my magazine got wet in the letter box and the pages stuck together!!

Best wishes,