The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on Friday 22 April. The shooting star display will be visible across the Northern and parts of the Southern Hemispheres, with meteors speeding across the sky at 107,000mph.
As EarthSky reported, one would usually expect to see between 10 to 20 meteors per hour without a spotlight-stealing full moon. While the 2016 Lyrid shower will likely yield far fewer meteor sitings, it’s possible that a few will shine through the moon’s obtrusive beams.
The astronomically inclined should plan to wake up early if they want to improve their chances of seeing those. Optimum Lyrid viewing time will be after midnight and before dawn — roughly 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Eastern.
Meteor showers are named for the constellations from which the individual meteors appear to shoot. The Lyrid meteor shower is named after the Lyra constellation, which is roughly harp-shaped and near the bright star Vega. 2016’s Lyrid meteor shower began on Saturday and will end on Monday; according to EarthSky, Lyrid showers enjoy “the distinction of being among the oldest of known meteor showers,” with the first event on record dating back to 687 B.C. in China.
How to watch it?
You don’t require any special kind of equipment in order to view a meteor shower. All you need to do is to go outside in a nice, dark sky away from the city lights, lie flat on your back and look straight up.
You ought to plan for at least few hours outdoors as it takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the dark and and most showers only reveal their splendor in that time, says Space.com.
Ideally, on a moonless sky, during the peak, of shower one might be able to observe around 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour. But this time, in lieu of the full moon, the odds are against us and seeing shooting stars might be far and few in between.
Meteor showers fill the sky when earth passes through a trail of dust and debris ejected by an asteroid or comet as it orbits the sun. As the dust and particles hit the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, they rub against air particles and heat up, disintegrating in flashes of light. The best of the meteor showers happen in summer and you can view the following the showers’ peaks with the International Meteor Organization’s 2016 Meteor Shower Calendar.