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Take Your Kids Outside to See the Meteor Shower Happening Tonight

The Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight. Here's what you need to know.

NASA

There’s never a bad time to gaze at the stars with your kids, but tonight is a particularly great opportunity to bond over the cosmos. That’s because the Lyrid meteor shower will peak tonight.

According to NASA, the Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers, first documented by the Chinese in the seventh century BC. They’re also one of the most interesting to watch, with particularly fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trails of glowing dust behind them as they travel through Earth’s atmosphere.

Lyrids generally come at a 10-20 per hour pace but have been known to reach a frequency of up to 100 per hour.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth’s atmosphere passes through and disintegrate debris trails left behind by broken asteroids, creating a dramatic light show in the process.

The best view of the show will come in the Northern Hemisphere after the moon sets but before dawn (the darkest hours of the night). The best time to watch them will be around 11 PM EST but the shower will be visible until dawn. NASA recommends lying down on the ground with your feet facing east and waiting half an hour for your eyes to adjust. At that point, you’ll start to see meteors, a space show that will last until dawn when it becomes too bright to make them out.

And if you can’t make it out tonight, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to see the shower over the next two evenings, though likely not with the same frequency as tonight.

And while your kid might go to school sleepy in the morning, you’ll have done something educational and fun that your kid will remember for a long time. Sounds like pretty responsible parenting to us.