NASA Science: Look up for the dazzling Eta Aquariid meteor shower Sunday and Monday

The Eta Aquariid meteor shower will take place on Sunday, May 5, and Monday, May 6. The shower is expected to yield a dazzling display of more than 100 "shooting stars" per hour over ideal observation conditions. The shower is produced by debris from the comet 1P/Halley, better known as Halley's Comet.

The shower has been observed for more than a century, according to NASA. It will provide nighttime observers in the Northern Hemisphere with the opportunity to see "shooting stars" for a couple of days, especially in the southern United States, where dark skies will enhance the visibility of the shower.

The shower will peak at around 4 a.m. EST on May 6, according to the North American Meteor Organization. However, the meteor shower will be visible for several nights, according to NASA.

The shower's peak is expected to produce up to 30 to 40 meteors per hour, according to NASA. While that number is less than the 100-meteor-per-hour expectation, it is still a significant increase over the seven meteors per hour that normally can be expected.

NASA recommends finding a dark place far from urban centers and looking up, allowing your eyes to adjust for at least 30 minutes before observing. The agency also recommends using a blanket or a lawn chair and wearing an old sweater that you don't mind sacrificing to the cause.

"The sweater will keep you warm and comfortable and can also be used to shield your eyes from ambient light reflected from the ground," the agency said. "Just lay back, take in the whole sky, and wait for the meteors to come to you."

The agency also recommended avoiding smoking and flashing lights, including cellphones, and advised observers to wear an eye mask to enhance the experience.

NASA said that in 2024, the Eta Aquariid shower will be visible from April 19 to May 28. The shower is named after the constellation Aquarius, the location in the sky where the radiant is located. The radiant is the point from which the meteors will appear to emerge.

The Eta Aquariid shower is one of two produced by the comet 1P/Halley, the other being the Orionid meteor shower, which will take place in late October and is also expected to yield up to 30 to 40 meteors per hour.

The two showers are the longest-lasting annual meteor showers, according to NASA.