It’s that time of year - the Lyrids are here! Here’s how you can view the meteor shower

The meteor shower drought that naturally occurs early in the year has come to an end with the springtime Lyrid meteors peaking this weekend.

Michele Powers

Apr 19, 2023, 11:11 PM

Updated 358 days ago

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The meteor shower drought that naturally occurs early in the year has come to an end with the springtime Lyrid meteors peaking this weekend. You don’t have to wait for the weekend to go out and view them because they will be visible through April 25. The best viewing for these meteor showers is on either side of the peak and very late at night. After midnight is best because that’s when the radiant point, the constellation Lyra is highest in the sky. That’s also when temperatures will be at their coldest.
The constellation Lyra is in the northeastern sky, but you can see the meteors anywhere. Find the darkest patch of sky you can and look up. It may take your eyes some time to adjust.
Lyra represents a musical instrument known as the lyre, which was first cataloged by Ptolemy the astronomer in the Second Century. Vega, the second brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere is part of this constellation.
The Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers, with historical records dating as far back as 687 B.C.E. in China. There is also a record of them in Richmond, Virginia in 1803. It would have been quite the sight because there was no light pollution in the sky to obscure the view.
This shower has its origins from Comet Thatcher. The comet was discovered back in 1861 when it last came through our solar system. It won’t return until 2267. But each year in April, the Earth orbits into the debris field left behind.
This shower is known for its faint meteors, but as many as 10-20 per hour can be seen in the darkest sky.


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