It has been 25 years since Halley's Comet last passed through the inner solar system, but an annual meteor shower keeps the icy wanderer's legacy on Earth alive this week. The orbit of Halley's Comet closely approaches the Earth's orbit at two places, creating a rain of striking meteors for skywatchers during both instances. One point is in the middle to latter part of October, producing a meteor display known as the Orionids. The other point comes now, in early May, producing the annual Eta Aquarids meteor shower.
The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is predicted to peak early Friday morning (May 6). Under ideal conditions (a dark, moonless sky) about 30 to 60 of these very swift meteors can be seen per hour. And with a new moon on May 3 this is one of those years when observing conditions will be perfect. The shower appears at about one-quarter peak strength for about three or four days before and after May 6.