Apr 21, 2023 - Science

How to see peak of the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend

Lyrids meteors in the sky in April 2020 in Schermbeck, Germany.

Lyrids meteors in the sky in April 2020 in Schermbeck, Germany. Photo: Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere in an area away from excessive artificial light and cloudy weather should be able to see the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower this weekend.

Why it matters: It's one of the oldest known meteor showers, with the first recorded sighting going back to 687 B.C. in China, according to NASA.

How it works: Lyrid meteors are space debris from Comet Thatcher, which was first discovered in 1861.

  • Every year in late April, as the Earth passes through Thatcher's debris trail, particles and bits of asteroids collide with the planet's atmosphere and burn up, producing colorful streaks in the sky.

How to see Lyrids meteor shower

What we're watching: Observers with clear weather and little light around them should be able to see the Lyrids meteor shower when it peaks later Saturday night into early Sunday morning.

  • During the peak, spectators should be able to see between 10 to 20 Lyrid meteors per hour, though as many as 100 meteors per hour have been seen in previous years.
  • The meteors should appear to be originating from the constellation Lyra, which is fairly easy to spot because it contains Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies.

The big picture: Along with the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower, Venus will be just above and to the left of the waxing crescent Moon, which will have the Pleiades star cluster below it, according to NASA.

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