Meteor Shower Spawned by Halley's Comet Peaking Now

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A meteor shower created by bits of Halley's Comet is at its peak now, and NASA has a few handy tips for stargazers eager to see the display of "shooting stars."

The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak Sunday night and NASA scientists will provide live views of the celestial fireworks display in a webcast from the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The webcast and chat will run from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. EDT (0100 to 0700 May 6 GMT), NASA officials said.

Scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center will provide a live webcast and chat during the Eta Aquarids from 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT) to 3 a.m. EDT (0700 GMT). You can watch the meteor shower webcast on SPACE.com, courtesy of NASA.

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To participate in the NASA chat, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/aquarids_2013.html

Here are some tips from NASA on how to see the meteor shower:

Find a dark spot: City lights and street lights can ruin any stargazing attempt because they can outshine objects like meteors in the night sky. To make the most of your meteor gazing night, find a place well away from those interfering lights.

Look up: The Eta Aquarids get their name because they appear to originate from the constellation Aquarius, which currently rises over the eastern horizon at about 3 a.m. your local time. But staring directly at the constellation can be a mistake, since the meteors can also be visible as they streak across the rest of the night sky. "Lie flat on your back on a blanket, lawn chair or sleeping bag and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible," NASA officials advised.

Adapt to the night: It is best to give your eyes about 30 minutes to adapt to the night's darkness in order to see more meteors.

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The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is known for spawning bright fireballs during their peak period. It is one of two celestial displays created by the dusty remains of Halley's Comet. The dust trail from the comet nears Earth at two points in the planet's orbit. When the Earth passes through the first region in early May, it creates the Eta Aquarids. The other Halley's Comet meteor display occurs in mid-October, creating the annual Orionid meteor shower.

Halley's Comet is a periodic comet that orbits the sun about once every 76 years. It is named after the 18th century English astronomer Edmond Halley, who accurately predict the return of the comet in 1758 after realizing that accounts of a dazzling comet throughout history were in fact the same object. Halley's Comet was last visible from Earth in 1986 and will return to our night skies in 2061.

This article originally appeared on Space.com. Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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