Friday, May 6, 2011
A Fireball the Size of the Earth, Meteor Shower From Halley's Comet
On May 2nd, amateur astronomer Jan Timmermans of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands captured something spectacular. When the sun rose, he was surprised to see that a fully detached solar prominence at the southwestern edge of the solar disk. A prominence is a large, bright feature extending outwards from the sun. While most prominences are in the shapes of loops connected to the suns surface. This detached "fireball" prominence, the size of the earth, is unique.
The annual Eta Aquariids meteor shower is here again. The Earth is passing through a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet. Although visible from mid April to late May each year, it's going to peak between 3:30 am and 5:30 am on Saturday May 7th. The meteors will be appearing near the constellation Aquarius, which is where they get their name. An estimated 10 to 12 meteors per hour will be visible, which should make for a very good show.