Eta Aquarid meteor shower to peak this week, here’s the best time to watch

Posted at 9:20 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 21:20:09-04

SEATTLE -- With all the buzz about the total solar eclipse this summer, some may have forgotten that a meteor shower is set to peak this week.

The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower is usually active between April 19 and May 28. This year, it will peak around May 5 or May 6.

The best time to view the shower will be during the early morning of May 6, just before dawn, NASA Meteoroid Environment Office lead Bill Cooke told  Cooke said as many as 30 meteors per hour can be expected.

People living in the Northern Hemisphere should look toward the southern horizon. People in the Southern Hemisphere should look north. People living near the equator, or even as far as Gulf Coast cities, will get the best views of the shower.

Want to see the shower without hurting your neck? Experts say you should lie on your back – not only will it give you the most expansive view of the sky, but no neck-craning is necessary.

Where did the Eta Aquarid meteor shower come from?

The Eta Aquarids is one of two meteor showers created by debris from Halley's Comet. Meteor showers happen when dust grains burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

The Earth will pass through Halley's path a second time this year. This creates the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks around October 20.

Halley's Comet takes around 76 years to make a complete revolution around the sun. The next time it will be visible from Earth is in 2061.