Lyrids Peak during the Weekend
The annual Lyrids meteor shower, derived from particles dropped by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher), runs from April 16 to 25 and peaks before dawn on Sunday, April 22.
This shower can produce up to 18 meteors per hour, with occasional fireballs. True Lyrids will appear to be travelling away from a point in space (the shower’s radiant) near the constellation Lyra (the Harp). The first quarter moon, which sets shortly after midnight, should not spoil the show too much.
You can start watching as soon as it’s dark. Even when the peak number occurs before dawn, meteors will still be visible before midnight, too. Don’t worry about looking directly at the radiant. Bring a blanket and a chaise to avoid neck strain. And remember that binoculars and telescopes will not help: their field of view is too narrow to see the long meteor trails. If you have friends or family along, don’t look at each other while chatting. Keep your eyes to the skies!
To see the most meteors, try to find a dark viewing location that has as much open sky as possible. Light pollution washes out the night sky, dramatically reducing the number of fainter meteors you will see. So a drive to a park or rural site away from city lights is helpful. To preserve your eyes’ dark adaptation, remember to turn your phone’s screen brightness to minimum or, even better, cover it with a red film. Disabling app notifications will reduce the chances of unexpected bright light, too.