Halley's Comet will bring a streak of meteors through the WNC skies Thursday and Friday evenings, a twice-in-lifetime event.
Halley's Comet made its last pass through the inner solar system in 1986 and is not due back until 2061. Each time Halley sweeps around the sun, it leaves behind a dusty trail — call it "cosmic litter" — that ends up trailing behind the comet.
This year, earth will pass through the trail now and again in October.
It's not necessarily the most dramatic of meteor showers, with only 10-30 meteors an hour being visible lower on the horizon. To catch the peak, set your alarm to sky watch at 3 a.m., rather than staying up late.
Find a dark sky area with as much open sky as possible. Get comfy and allow your eyes adjust to the dark for at least 10-15 minutes.
VIEWING SESSION AT PARI:
For a unique viewing experience, join fellow sky watchers to revel in the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower at the Pisgah Center for Astronomical Research from 9-11p.m. on Thursday, May 6.
The meteor shower is expected to produce 10 to 30 meteors per hour raining down from Halley’s Comet. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair and settle in for the show.
PARI astronomers will also be on hand with telescopes to view the night sky and answer questions, although the meteors move too fast to see through the telescopes.
On Friday night, PARI is offering an overnight experience coinciding with the meteor shower, including a cabin or camping, plus dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning.
PARI is one of only two internationally certified Dark Sky Parks in the state. PARI as initially founded in the 1960s as a NASA spacecraft tracking station and is now a nonprofit center dedicated to space research, scientific exploration and public outreach.
The Thursday night viewing is $50 for adults, $13 for ages 6-17, and free for kids under 5. Click here to reserve your spot.
For the overnight experience, click here.
Located at 1 PARI Drive, Rosman. For additional information, call 828-862-5554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.