Look up! First meteor shower in months peaks tonight

The Lyrids can produce 10-20 meteors per hour
First meteor shower in months peaks tonight (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 7:48 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - For the first time in months a meteor shower is set to peak. The Lyrid meteor shower will be at its best Thursday evening and night.

The Lyrids may not produce the number of meteors that the Perseids and Geminids do, but they are well-known and popular due to their timing and potential each year. With it being more than 3 months since the Quadrantids of early January, many are eager for another meteor shower.

The Lyrids peak tonight.
The Lyrids peak tonight.(WSFA 12 News)

That fact alone makes the Lyrids a worthy shower. Throw in the tendency for the Lyrids to produce bright and quick-moving shooting stars and you’ve got yourself a great astronomy event to check out.

The timing to view the Lyrids is from 8 p.m. Thursday through the predawn hours Friday. All you have to do is look up because these meteors have an originating point relatively high in the sky.

Thursday night's stargazing forecast.
Thursday night's stargazing forecast.(WSFA 12 News)

Just be sure to do the following if you want to maximize your Lyrid meteor shower experience...

  • Head somewhere away from city lights
  • Elevate yourself to allow most of the night sky to be visible (avoid tall trees)
  • Give your eyes 20-30 minutes to adjust to total darkness
  • Dress appropriately with temperatures expected to be in the 50s and 60s later this evening and tonight
  • Look up and enjoy for at least an hour for the best chance at seeing shooting stars

The two potential problems for every meteor shower are the weather and moonlight. This year’s Lyrid meteor shower will go on with complete cooperation from Mother Nature. Skies will be entirely clear and the lack of humidity means a “clean” atmosphere perfect for viewing meteors.

Clear skies with temperatures bottoming out in the 50s tonight.
Clear skies with temperatures bottoming out in the 50s tonight.(WSFA 12 News)

The problem will be moonlight. The moon will be about 60% illuminated once it rises around 1 a.m. So if you plan on watching the shower after that time, expect the moon’s brightness to wash out a healthy portion of the meteors.

If you can venture out before 1 a.m. tonight you will most definitely increase your chances of catching multiple quick-moving shooting stars. Some of them will likely be rather bright and some could reach fireball status!

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