As the Earth passes through the orbit of Halley’s Comet, I am sitting on my boat, staring West, out toward the Gulf of Mexico. The water is dead calm. I can hear a dolphin breathing somewhere in the darkness. Occasionally a fish jumps and the rings of the splash dissipate slowly below my dangling bare feet.
It is about 11PM on May 4th, 2020. The world has been in the throws of the Covid-19 Pandemic for over 3 months. I am outdoors, and taking nothing for granted. I glance up at the night sky. Life feels so fragile, so crazed. There is so much anxiety and unknown. Nothing feels normal, whatever that means.
The moon is still East and will be full in 3 days, so it is a bit bright for viewing a meteor shower. As I tilt my face upward in the warm Florida breeze, time seems to stop. Out of the stillness, burst long streams of blue light, trailing across the night sky. Wow! This is amazing! The meteor shower is approaching its peak, and I am watching.
The sky settles. Patiently, i am waiting. A seagull squawks. My big toe brushes the surface of the tepid sea. I gaze upward just in time. Another blue explosion! This time it is a cooler blue, almost white, and much brighter. The vivid trail is low and seems so close. Too close. I wonder aloud if a meteor can hit me. I am sure it has landed on the nearby beach. Or has it?
Perception is such an interesting thing. Sitting here, watching nature’s show, everything melts away. To think, that something so obscure as a meteor shooting through the night, for just a moment, restores normalcy.
Watching What Meteor Shower?
The Halley’s comet leaves behind debris that crosses the Earth twice per year, causing a meteor shower. The Eta Aquarids meteor shower, occurring each year from roughly late April to mid-May should be at its peak early tomorrow, May 5th, just before morning.
If you are traveling during April and May, or happen to reside in the Southern Hemisphere, consider watching this meteor from there, where you have a better view of more activity. This may be an excellent reason to plan a trip! Be sure to add this activity to your bucket list!
While the August meteor shower, Perseid, tends to be more popular, the Eta Aquarids offers spectacular long streams of light through the night sky. Chemical composition and speed of the meteor, determines the color it appears, according to American Meteor Society (AMS), a nonprofit founded in 1911.
Learn more in AMS’s, Viewing the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower in 2020
See also, Jenny In Wanderland article, 10 Travel Activities To Do From Home