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May’s Sky Shows Include Shooting Stars and Alien Eclipses Visible from the Texas Hill Country

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A number of sparkling shooting stars will start the month of May off with a celestial-bang as great night-sky-watching opportunities line up on your calendar! And as some of the planet Jupiter’s moons cross behind it, those of you with telescopes will also get to witness alien eclipses. The best opportunity to witness this month’s shooting stars will take place during the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, with Friday, May 5, 2017, producing the greatest display. Up to 50 meteors per hour are anticipated by astronomers to be visible bursting across the northeast beginning at approximately 10 p.m. local time.

May’s Sky Shows Include Shooting Stars and Alien Eclipses Visible from the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management

For the best views, go outside after the moon has set and look for the Aquarius constellation in the east. Even clearer opportunities will occur in areas that have dark sky designations, such as Dripping Springs and Enchanted Rock. These spots in the Texas Hill Country are officially recognized for their lack of light pollution, allowing night objects such as stars and meteors to appear better. Eta Aquarid’s claim to fame is that it consists of leftover pieces from Halley’s comet, which some of you will remember had its last swing by Earth in 1986, and won’t be back until 2062. Each year, however, her on Earth we can still witness grain-size particles which were shed by the comet burn up in the atmosphere over our heads.

May’s Sky Shows Include Shooting Stars and Alien Eclipses Visible from the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Flickr/Ryan Wick

Those with telescopes will also want to set up for watching Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, move through that planet’s shadow on May 11. This is expected to finish at 9:55 p.m. Central Time when Ganymede reappears into view. And following that, at 10:45 p.m. Central Time, the neighboring moon, Europa, will do the very same, giving viewers two chances to see what are termed Jovian eclipses.

May’s Sky Shows Include Shooting Stars and Alien Eclipses Visible from the Texas Hill Country
Photo: Pixabay

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