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Kentuckians can see 'Pink moon' and Halley's Comet-related meteor in next few weeks

At its peak May 4, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower will produce a meteor nearly every second.
At its peak May 4, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower will produce a meteor nearly every second.

The pink moon will peak Tuesday and it’s worth looking for – even though it’s not pink. That’s according to Mark Pitts, an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Physics, Geosciences and Astronomy. According to an article in Farmers Almanac, moon nicknames date back to native Americans. Whatever the origin, Pitts said he’s glad the pink moon raises interest in astronomy.

“Especially in our modern society, where either we're, most of the time we're in our buildings or our faces are looking down at screens, anything that can get us to look up is kind of good in my book.”

In early May, Pitt said, a different show will arrive in the skies – the Eta Aquarids meteor shower, which appears to come from the constellation Aquarius and consists of tiny bits of rock and ice from Halley’s Comet.

“If you just pick a random night, and there's no shower going on, and you look up at the night sky, at the same patch, you will see about five meteors per hour. This shower tends to peak around 50.”

The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is expected to peak May 4th, and Pitts said it’s best seen in the hours just before dawn. The shower’s parent, Halley’s Comet, won’t be back until 2061.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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