The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is a yearly event occurring between the months of April and May for around 4 weeks. This year, the shower is set to peak in the early morning of May 6, just before dawn to be precise, promising a brilliant display of up to 30 meteors an hour.
The event is often overlooked as most people tend to look forward to the Perseid meteor shower which takes place in August. However, it is still makes for a wonderful spectacle that should not be missed since its meteors are just as brightly visible from Earth as those of the Perseid shower, even if there are less of them.
Bill Cooke from NASA’s Meteroid Environment Office noted that while inhabitants of the southern hemisphere, particularly those closer to the Equator, will get the best view and be able to witness up to 60 meteors every hour at the time of peaking, those in the north can still expect a stunning sight by looking toward the south horizon.
According to the experts, the best way to observe the shower is to lie on your back, since this position also guarantees no neck straining and also in order to get the maximal view of all the meteors zooming past.
The Eta Aquarid shower gets its name from Eta Aquarii, a bright star in the Aquarius constellation, since its meteors originate from here. The shower is caused by dust and debris fragments which broke off from Halley’s Comet. Since the particles are very thin, they burn up quickly upon entering our atmosphere, forming the streaks of light which we get to see blaze across our skies.