This year, the Waxing Crescent Moon is slated to provide a close to moonless sky for those observing the Eta Aquarids meteor shower. Along with natural lighting from the moon, be aware that local conditions such as cloud cover, light pollution, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.
The radiant of the Eta Aquarids, also known as the point from which the meteors appear to come from, is situated in the "water jar" of the constellation Aquarius.
For the best viewing experience, find an area unobstructed by structures and that is far away from city lights. Using binoculars or telescopes is not recommended, as your field of view will be greatly restricted, thus making the possibility of missing a "shooting star" more likely.
Once you have settled down at your observation spot, face half-way up toward the eastern portion of the sky. Looking east, you will have the constellation of Aquarius, which is the radiant of the Eta Aquarids, within your field of view. To perhaps easily locate the radiant, you can locate a "Y" shaped pattern of stars known as a "peace sign" to several observers. If you see light pollution in the form of bright lights as you face east, you can face closer north or south.
Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house!
Under a moonless sky and perfect viewing conditions, observers may be able to see 40 to 60 meteors per hour. This year, the Eta Aquarids favors those living in the Southern Hemisphere. Those in the Northern Hemisphere will still see a great display, but more dramatic displays can be observed the further below the equator the equator, with the exception of Antarctica.
During ideal conditions, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower should put on a spectacular viewing experience! The clickable sky map below shows the night sky looking east around midnight on May 6th, 2012, the peak of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.