Updated: May 10, 2021
Heads-up, there is an incoming meteor shower this week. The ‘Eta Aquarid’ meteors are debris from Halley's comet tail and will light up the sky later this week over the upper North Island. The best time to witness the event (weather permitting) is between 2.25am to 5:30am on Friday morning 7th May. Currently the weather forecast for this Friday morning is favourable due to a large stubborn high-pressure system expected to be parked over the upper North Island. The meteors will be seen in the sky to the east north east direction.
The Eta Aquarid meteors are known for their speed, traveling at about 240,000 km/h into the Earth’s atmosphere, fast meteors can leave glowing “trains” which last for several seconds to minutes. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports that each time Halley’s comet returns to the inner solar system, its nucleus sheds a layer of ice and rock into space. The dust grains eventually become the Eta Aquarids in May and the Orionids in October if they collide with Earth’s atmosphere. Halley’s comet itself won’t be visible to the human eye until the year 2061 when it makes a return from its 76 year round trip.