Catch The Lyrid Meteor Shower Tonight
With partly cloudy skies and an overnight low of 40, we could have a great night for meteor watching. The Lyrid Meteor Shower promises 10 to 20 meteors an hour with incredible surges of up to 100.
The Lyrids runs from April 16th through the 25th this year, but peaks tonight. Lyrid meteors, April’s shooting stars, tend to be bright and often leave spectacular trails.
I love meteor showers. Every August I round up my family, blankets, and thermoses of hot chocolate to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower, arguably the easiest shower to view because of the ideal summer weather. But there are other showers, notably the Leonids in November, and the Lyrids tonight that produce bigger and brighter meteors.
Here’s a couple of tips that will improve your meteor shower watching experience.
Set Your Expectations
It would be amazing to see the sky filled with giant, slow burning meteors that light up the night. The Lyrids, despite being the best shower of the year, aren’t like that. Think of it this way: don’t go in expecting a torrential downpour; instead it’s much more like a light, spring shower. Although the Lyrids are known for producing really big and bright meteors.
Dress warmly. You’ll be outside in the middle of the night and it’s going to get cold. You’re going to want to bring a sweater, a coat, and a few blankets to wrap up in. Hot Cocoa is encouraged.
Get Away From Ambient Light Sources
Everything from the street lights, your front porch light, and even the bright screen on your phone can take away from your viewing enjoyment. If you’re eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you look down at your iPhone screen to check email, your eyes will have to readjust again. Try and find somewhere nice and dark for best enjoyment.
As with nearly every aspect of astronomy, patience is the key. If you don’t see one in the first five minutes, don’t give up. Your eyes need at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Find a comfortable spot, pick a spot in the sky, and just watch.
More tips from Space.com.
Have fun and enjoy the Lyrids!