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Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks this week! Here's how to watch the show.

Astrophotographer Sergio Garcia Rill sent in a photo of an Eta Aquarid meteor and the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, taken in Garner State Park, Texas, on May 5, 2013.
Astrophotographer Sergio Garcia Rill sent in a photo of an Eta Aquarid meteor and the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, taken in Garner State Park, Texas, on May 5, 2013. (Image credit: <a href="http://www.sgarciarill.com">Sergio Garcia Rill</a>)

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. 

Related: Meteor shower guide 2022: Dates and viewing advice

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. 

Justin Ng of Singapore captured this view of a bright Eta Aquarid meteor hurtling across the night sky over Mount Bromo, on the Indonesian island of Java. (Image credit: © Justin Ng )

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.

Editor's note: If you snap an amazing photo of an Eta Aquarid meteor or any other night-sky sight and you'd like to share it with Space.com for a story or image gallery, send images, comments and location information to spacephotos@space.com.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.