WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley’s comet, peaks in activity this weekend.

Given that there will be a waning crescent moon in the sky, the dazzle should be visible to sky watchers who wait in a dark spot to view the streaks of light often called "shooting stars."

The Eta Aquarids occur every year in early May. This year’s peak activity happens early Sunday with an expected 10 to 30 meteors visible per hour in the Northern Hemisphere. Viewing should be even better in the Southern Hemisphere. The shower lasts through May 27.

There are a number of meteor showers that can be seen throughout the year, most originating from the debris of comets. The source of the Eta Aquarids is Halley’s comet.

When rocks from space enter Earth’s atmosphere, the resistance from the air makes them very hot. This causes the air to glow around them and briefly leaves a fiery tail behind them — the end of a “shooting star.”

The glowing pockets of air around fast-moving space rocks, ranging from the size of a dust particle to a boulder, may be visible in the night sky.

Meteor showers are usually most visible between midnight and predawn hours. It’s easier to see shooting stars under dark skies, away from city lights. Meteor showers also appear brightest on cloudless nights when the moon wanes smallest.

The Southern Hemisphere will have the best view of Eta Aquarids, but a waning moon just 14% full will allow for clear viewing in both hemispheres, according to the American Meteor Society.

The next big show is the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower, which peaks in late July.

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