METEORS FROM HALLEY'S COMET: This weekend, Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual eta Aquariid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on May 6-7 with 20 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere, and twice that number in the southern hemisphere. No matter where you live, the best time to look is during the hours before local sunrise on Monday morning, May 7th. [sky maps]
SOLAR WIND STORM: Blowing faster and arriving earlier than expected, a stream of solar wind engulfed Earth on May 5th. "Northern Lights were visible in Minnesota while there was still light in the western sky, an hour after sunset," reports Thomas Spence. He took this picture from his home in Tofte, MN:
"We had nice flare ups through midnight and into the morning," says Spence. "STEVE made a nice appearance, too!"With gusts of nearly 700 km/s, the solar wind stream has so far produced geomagnetic storms of category G1 and G2. The gaseous material is flowing from a wide hole in the sun's atmosphere--so wide that Earth might remain inside the stream for some days. NOAA forecasters say there is a 55% chance that storming will continue on May 6th and 7th.