The Woodward News

Local News

May 3, 2013

Weekend chance to view meteor shower

Woodward, Okla. — It is the age of Aquarius.  At least when speaking about meteor showers.

Because the Eta Aquarids meteor shower is expected to peak this weekend.

Dr. Steven Maier, associate professor of physics at NWOSU, said that "the reason it is called the Eta Aquarids is because the radiant, or center of the meteor shower, is in the constellation Aquarius."  Within the constellation for the "water bearer," Maier said the radiant will be closest to the star known at Eta.

He said the meteor shower "is supposed to peak on May 5, but it has a broad maximum, which means it could be really visible as early as the 3rd and as late as the 7th."

"It's usually a pretty decent meteor shower, provided the weather cooperates," he said.

For those wanting to catch a glimpse of these meteors, Maier said to go out this weekend and look to the southeast, close to the horizon or just above.

"The best time to view the shower will be in the morning just before sunrise, around 4 a.m. to 5 a.m.," he said.

The great thing about meteor showers is that "no special equipment is needed" to view them, Maier said.

"You don't need a telescope, you don't need binoculars.  Just go outside, let your eyes adjust to the darkness," he said.

And while he describes the Eta Aquarids as "a pretty good meteor shower," Maier warns "don't expect a light show."

"You've got to be patient," he said.  "You might see a couple of meteors and then a few minutes will pass before you'll see another."

He said at its peak, the Eta Aquarids will average around 10 to 20 meteors an hour.

"So if you're going to watch, you'd better set aside an hour's time because it's going to take your eyes 15 to 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness," he said.

For the best viewing opportunity, he suggests "getting away from city lights and turning off yard lights."

If you're wondering where all the Eta Aquarid meteors are coming from, Maier said "what you're seeing are remnants of Halley's Comet."

"As the comet makes it's orbit around the sun, it leaves a path of debris," he said, noting "the Earth passes through this particulate every year about this time of year."

But this debris isn't anything to be worried about, Maier said because "when you see the average meteor it is at most the size of a grain of sand."

"These are really pretty small pieces that have fallen off of Halley's Comet that are burn super fast and super bright as they enter the Earth's atmosphere," he said.

Even some of the bigger meteors "are only about pebble size.  And if you see a fireball, that's about the size of your fist or a bit larger, but they're more rare," he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • State board votes again to delay education plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that represent public school boards and administrators across Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2014

  • Winners of Cudd Legacy award named

    Three veterans of the oil industry will receive this year's Bobby Joe Cudd Legacy Award during the Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention on Aug. 7 at the Woodward Conference Center.

    July 24, 2014

  • Benefit gun raffles underway

    Woodward Reserve police officers and other Woodward full time officers have come together to support one of their own.

    July 24, 2014

  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tangier Reunion set for Saturday, Sunday

    When Barbara (Allison) Merwin thinks back to the years she spent in the classrooms of Tangier High School, it takes a few moments for her to recall how school life was 60 years ago.

    July 23, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014