Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight: How to see shooting stars

Katie Ramirez
April 22, 2019

Why does this meteor shower happen annually?

Springtime stargazers are in for a treat; the Lyrid meteor shower will peak in a dazzling show tonight and early Tuesday morning (April 22-23).

Dr Marzouk said astronomical instruments are not required to observe the meteor shower and people in Qatar and other countries across the Northern Hemisphere can see Lyrids with the naked eye from places without light and environmental pollution (pure sky).

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The Lyrids - created by bits of space debris originating from comet/C 1861 G1 Thatcher - appear to come from the constellation Lyra, the harp, specifically its star Vega. This meteor shower is easier to see in the Northern Hemisphere because that part of the sky is high above the horizon before dawn, although you can see a lower rate from the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors will streak away from a point in the sky (the shower's radiant) near the bright star Vega, which will be high in the eastern sky before dawn. Occasionally, the Lyrids can "storm". Nights without a moon in the sky will be ideal for seeing the meteors. In general, 10-20 Lyrid meteors can be seen per hour during their peak. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. Some of them have trails that glow for seconds after the meteor has disappeared.

The Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors, though not as fast or as plentiful as the famous Perseids in August, Lyrids can surprise watchers with as many as 100 meteors seen per hour.

The moon was full Friday, so it will still be quite bright in the early morning hours over the weekend and during the peak.

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