The Eta Aquarid meteor shower may generate as many as 50 shooting stars an hour during its peak on Thursday (May 5), weather permitting.
The meteor shower is of medium brightness, meaning that darker skies will produce more visible meteors. The best views will happen before dawn, according to Bill Cooke, who leads NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.
The moon will be in its waxing crescent phase (roughly 15% full) when the shower peaks. While the show is most visible from the Southern Hemisphere or close to the equator, it is also visible to some folks in the north. Look for the constellation Aquarius, which is in the southern sky.
If you're hoping to capture photos of Eta Aquarid meteors, our guide on how to photograph meteor showers can help. You can also use our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography guides to prepare for the next meteor shower.
The best way to see meteors, according to Cooke, is to lay flat on your back while looking straight up. That position will give the largest view of the sky without neck strain.
The Eta Aquarids are associated with Halley's Comet, which returns to Earth every 76 years. The "shooting stars" you see will be flecks of dust or small pebbles that burn up high in the atmosphere. Meteorites, or space rocks that make it to the ground, tend to come from one-time fireballs of asteroid fragments.
The meteor shower is known for its swiftly moving streaks with long trains, according to the American Meteor Society, whizzing through the atmosphere at 41 miles (66 kilometers) per second.
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