The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower Will Be Visible in the Sky This May

Peek outside before dawn on May 5 to catch this sight.

There's nothing quite like seeing bright shooting stars lighting up the night sky. If you've been wondering when the next meteor showers will send bursts of light streaking across the sky, we have some good news: You don't have to wait long at all. According to Mental Floss, shooting stars from the Eta Aquariid meteor shower will appear this spring on May 5, but you'll also be able to spot shooting stars both a few days before and after.

long exposure image of eta aquarids meteor shower
Roberto Michel / Getty Images

The particular meteor shower can be seen when Earth making its way through debris from Halley's comet. This creates two meteor showers, the first being the Orinoid meteor shower, whcih occurs in October, and the Eta Aquariid shower, which happens in May. When it comes to the latter, the fast-moving shooting stars not to be missed. They rush through the sky at about 148,000 miles per hour, and people often see them best in the Southern Hemisphere. If viewed in the Northern Hemisphere, you can spot about 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

Eta Aquariid meteors also stem from a specific place: the constellation Aquarius. Researchers note that just about one hour before dawn, the meteors will radiate over the east-southern horizon. As for how this sight got its name in the first place? It's actually not because of the constellation itself, but a star within it. "Eta Aquarii" is a star that forms a water carrier's jar.

If you want to catch this meteor shower at its peak, set your alarm clock before dawn on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. But if you decide to sleep in that day, not to worry. You can see Eta Aquariids lighting up the sky at that time the day before or the day after. However, the best days to look will be on May 5 and 6 since the waning crescent moon will be dimmer, giving you a better view of the shooting stars.

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