One of spring’s most breathtaking meteor showers is happening this week

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is set to happen before dawn Wednesday, May 5

A meteor from a meteor shower streaks across the night sky.
A meteor from a meteor shower streaks across the night sky. (2018 Ian Forsyth)

Grab a blanket, a lawn chair and get ready to kick back and bask in one of the most breathtaking sky events of the spring season.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is set to happen before dawn Wednesday, May 5, coming from the debris trail of Halley’s comet, according to a report from USA Today.

Although the meteor shower is slated for Wednesday, reports said there could be some meteors in the sky on May 4 or 6 as well.

Each time Halley’s Comet returns to the inner solar system, NASA said its nucleus “sheds a layer of ice and rock into space.” The dust grains from the debris eventually form the Eta Aquarids.

The Eta Aquarid meteors are known for their speed, as they’re traveling around 148,000 miles per hour into Earth’s atmosphere, according to USA Today. You may also see “glowing trains” from the meteors if they’re traveling at a high speed, which can last for several seconds or minutes.

NASA officials said the Eta Aquarids arrive in May and the Orionids come in October, if they collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.

This is a meteor shower you won’t want to miss, as NASA officials said Halley’s Comet takes about 76 years to orbit the sun just once, and it will not enter the inner solar system again until 2061. You can learn more about Halley’s Comet here.

Earthsky.org has a few tips to help you get the best view possible of the meteor shower:

  • Sprawl out in a moon shadow. In other words, find a shadow cast over the ground, a wide open field, or something similar for the best viewing.
  • Avoid city lights, if possible. If you can’t avoid city lights, try to find the least bright space available.
  • Watch with family and friends. Enjoy the meteor shower with loved ones, even if it’s socially distanced.
  • Watch for meteor trains.

You can learn more about the meteor shower here.

More on KSAT:

How to watch a meteor shower: Tips for the best viewing experience

If you’re a newbie when it comes to meteor showers, here are some tips from EarthSky:

►Give yourself at least an hour of viewing time for watching any meteor shower. Meteors tend to come in spurts that are interspersed by lulls. Also, it can take as long as 20 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the dark.

►Moonlight might somewhat hamper the viewing of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower this year, as well.

►You need no special equipment to watch a meteor shower, but a little luck always helps. Find a dark, open sky away from artificial lights, and sprawl out on a reclining lawn chair. Meteor watching is a lot like fishing. Sometimes you catch a good number of them, and sometimes you don’t, EarthSky said.


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