COMET NEAT: Long-awaited Comet NEAT (C/2001 Q4) is approaching Earth and growing brighter. At closest approach on May 7th, it will be 0.32 AU (48 million km) from our planet and about as bright as a 3rd magnitude star. The comet is now visible to the unaided eye--just barely--after sunset from dark-sky locations in the northern hemisphere. It looks like a fuzzy blob with a stubby tail. City dwellers are advised to use binoculars or a small telescope. Visit Spaceweather.com for pictures of the comet and a sky map.
METEOR SHOWER: Today Earth is passing through a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet--the source of the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. Unfortunately, tonight's full Moon will outshine the display, reducing it to near invisibility. Try listening, instead, using real-time links to meteor radars on Spaceweather.com.