Meteor shower to arrive TOMORROW as Earth passes through debris of Halley’s Comet

 meteor shower

Each year, Earth passes through the stream of falling specks of ice, disintegrating from Halleys comet. The shower will be most visible between May 4 and May 6, when up to 40 meteors an hour will be visible. The meteor shower is the debris of Halley’s Comet which will not get close to our planet until 2062.

The comet, arguably the most famous of all the known comets, takes 75 to 76 years to orbit the sun, but often comes close to Earth.

When it does come close, some of the offshoot of the comet, which are usually as small as a grain of sand, burn up in our atmosphere and allow us to see the spectacular shooting stars.

Halley’s Comet creates one shower in May – the Eta Aquarid shower – and one in October – the Orionids meteor shower.

Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office said: “This is a good year for eta Aquarid meteors.

“The shower’s peak coincides with a New Moon, so skies will be dark for the display.”

NASA describes comets as “cosmic snowballs of frozen gas, rock and dust” and Halley’s Comet is no exception to this.

Unlike asteroids, which are typically just hard rock and metals, comets are built from more volatile materials that ionize in the Sun’s heat and leave a glowing trail behind them.

 halleys comet

The meteors are debris from Halley's Comet (Image: GETTY)

Halley’s Comet is believed to have been first observed some 2,200 years ago but it was not until astronomer Edmond Halley in 1705 that the comet was officially recognized.

The astronomer was the first scientist to correctly predict Halley’s return in 1758 and Halley was honored by having the comet named after him.

But the comet has been sighted by different civilizations “for millennia” and was even spotted during the battle of Hastings – you can see it stitched into the Bayeux Tapestry.