The second spring meteor shower of the year is expected to produce around 30 meteors per hour traveling at speeds of about 148,000 mph into Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.
The Eta Aquarids are visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres during the pre-dawn hours, though the Southern Hemisphere has a better view of more meteors.
The Northern Hemisphere, however, typically has an hourly rate of only 10 meteors, as the constellation of Aquarius – which can be traced to the shower’s radiant point that nearly aligns with the star Eta Aquarii — is higher up in the sky in the Southern Hemisphere.
NASA highlights that in the Northern Hemisphere, Aquarid meteors can be seen as “earthgrazers” that skim the surface of the Earth at the horizon and leave long-lasting trails.
Halley’s remnants – pieces of dust and ice — will appear as incandescent streaks, catching light in the atmosphere.
An Eta Aquarid meteor streaks over northern Georgia on 29 April 2012. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/B. Cooke (NASA)
However, while meteor watchers don’t need to know where radiants are to watch a meteor shower, latitude is important.