The Lyrid meteor shower, one of the oldest known meteor showers, is expected to reach its peak in the United States at the end of next month, as it will peak on the night of April 21 and into the morning hours of April 22. The Lyrid meteor shower is considered to be among the most unpredictable and weakest meteor showers but with the right planning, you should be able to get a good look at the shooting stars from the shower. Here is everything you need to know to have the best chance to see the meteor shower when it is at its most awesome.
From earth, the Lyrid meteor shower, which was viewed in China nearly 3,000 yards ago, appears to originate from the Lyra constellation but in reality, the shower occurs when the Earth passes through the tail of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. That causes rocky debris to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere and as a result, we get to see a meteor shower. The Lyrid meteor shower will start around April 16 but it will be several days before it reaches its peak before it then begins to diminish, before finally fading out on April 25.
Unlike some other mightier meteor showers, the Lyrid can be inconsistent with its showing, as there will sometimes only be 10-20 shooting stars per hour, even on peak nights. However, there have also been times where patient watchers have witnessed up to 100 shooting stars per hour.
So when is the best time to try and catch a glimpse of the meteor shower? According to EarthSky’s guide, the peak viewing hours will be between midnight and dawn, as the darkness of the sky will allow you to get the best look at any shooting stars. You don’t need any special tools or equipment, just try to find a nice, comfortable spot away from too much artificial light. (Sorry, city dwellers!)
It can also be seen from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres — but it’s best if you manage to be North of the equator.
“We like to say that meteor showers are like fishing,” Deborah Byrd, editor-in-chief of EarthSky, told TODAY. “You go out in the country to some scenic spot, and you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. And sometimes you catch something.”