Meteor Shower 2018: Eta Aquarid Shower Peaks This Weekend, How to See It

The weather is finally warm enough in much of the country to comfortably head outside in the early morning hours to do some meteor hunting.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be ongoing until the end of the month, but viewers are most likely to catch a glimpse of the shooting stars this weekend. Before sunrise Sunday will be the optimal time to for stargazers to head outside to try and see the shower, according to Time and Date.

There's a chance that light from the moon may wash out any light from the meteors, according to NASA. But those who want to look for them anyway should lie down flat on the ground and look right up at the sky, NASA advised. This allows for the broadest area of the sky to be visible at once.

Viewers should give their eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the dark and shouldn't worry too much at staring at the radiant of the shower, near the northern part of Aquarius. NASA expects between 10 and 30 meteors an hour around the peak of the shower.

The meteors that fall during the Eta Aquarid shower are the result of Halley's Comet. Halley's Comet actually causes two meteor showers each year, the Eta Aquarid meteor shower that peaks in May and the Orionid meteor shower that usually happens in October.

Comets are made of frozen gas, dust and rock and orbit the sun, according to NASA, and as the comet travels through the sky it leaves a trail of debris behind it. That trail is made up of dust and small rocks that end up causing meteor showers. When the Earth reaches the point in its orbit where it intersects with the trail of debris, that debris stream through Earth's atmosphere and burn up which is what causes the streak of light that is visible from the ground.

eta aquarid
An image of an Eta Aquarid meteor from the NASA All Sky Fireball Network station in Tullahoma, Tennessee, in May, 2013. The meteor shower peaks early Sunday morning. NASA