Eta Aquariids meteor shower
Earth’s orbit is set to intersect with the orbit of Halley’s Comet. Astronomer Perry Vlahos explains.
If you’re under 35 years old, it’s a safe bet you wouldn’t have seen Halley’s Comet when it was last around in the mid 1980s. It also means you probably missed seeing Billy Idol live, so there is an upside.
Nevertheless, there’s a consolation prize regarding this most famous of comets, and you can still make a real connection with Halley’s ‘children’.
The meteors (shooting stars) we see during meteor showers have all had their origin in comets. When comets enter the inner solar system, these dusty snowballs are warmed by the sun and fine dust particles are ‘boiled’ off, creating distinct tails that can stretch for many millions of kilometres.