Why the 'best meteor shower' of the year promises to be extra special

(WJW) – The stars have aligned for one of 2024’s best meteor showers.

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower is caused by debris from Halley’s Comet, according to Space.com. We have a chance to see the Eta Aquariid meteors every May as Earth crosses through the orbit of Halley’s Comet.

This year, the shower is expected to be extra special as it reaches peak as we have a new moon, NASA explains.

That means the skies will be extra dark just before dawn.

In the Southern Hemisphere, NASA says viewers could see as many as 40 meteors an hour. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, however, we can expect 10 to 20 an hour.

When to watch the Eta Aquariid meteor shower

The shower is already underway (it started in mid-April) but is expected to peak over the weekend on May 4 and 5.

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Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, Babcock Wildlife Refuge, Florida (Getty)

The best time to see the meteors, which can appear extra long and bright, is an hour or two before dawn, NASA explains. The Eta Aquariids meteors often appear at the horizon, giving them the nickname “Earthgrazers.”

For the best viewing, NASA recommends looking straight skyward while lying on the ground with your feet toward the east.

Researchers say this year’s Eta Aquariid meteor shower could be the best we see this entire century. You have until May 27 to take it in.

Earth will cross through the Halley’s Comet orbit again in October, giving us the chance to see the Orionid meteor shower.

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