You Can Watch the Lyrid Meteor Shower Tonight From Your Backyard

Apr 22, 2019

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It’s time to break out that picnic blanket and set your alarm for an absolutely ungodly hour, because on Monday evening, you can watch the Lyrid meteor shower from your backyard.

The shower, which started on April 16 and will end on April 25, will be at its most brilliant when it peaks late in the evening on April 22 and continues into the early morning hours of April 23. It will be visible all across North America.

This year, unfortunately, won’t be the most spectacular display in the meteor shower’s long history (the earliest known recording was some 2,700 years ago, according to Live Science).

Bill Cooke, from NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, told TPG, since the moon will be in its waning gibbous phase (near, but not quite full), the shower might not be that easy to see this year. Cooke also stated that this year’s shower will likely have pretty low visibility, however, the brighter Lyrids should still shine through. Cloudy condition around much of the nation won’t help, either.

Cooke said that Lyrids should be visible across the Northern Hemisphere. “You could be in Florida, you can be in Alaska — you’ll see Lyrids,” said Cooke. Experts suggest that the best time to catch a glimpse of this natural phenomena is just before dawn — 4 AM local time, to be exact. If you live in a city, you’re also going to want to drive out somewhere that has less light pollution, as the shower will already be somewhat diminished by the brightness of the moon.

To the naked eye, the meteors will appear to originate from the Lyra (Harp) constellation. Cooke also suggested that viewers avoid looking at their phone or any other bright screens so their eyes can properly adjust to the darkness.

And if you’re flying overnight, keep your reading light off and your window shade open: You might very well catch a glimpse of shooting stars streaking across the sky during your flight.

Featured image by DANIEL REINHARDT/AFP/Getty Images.

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