Lyrid meteor shower visible in night sky for the next week

  • Composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New Mexico from April 21-23, 2012.
Composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New… (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser )
April 16, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks next week, but a few of the "shooting stars" may be visible as early as Tuesday night, before a nearly full moon outshines the show.

The meteors are expected from about April 16 to April 25, with a peak around April 22. But given that the full moon arrives April 25, some of the meteors may be too faint to see during the peak.

The show isn't the most dramatic of the year to begin with. The Lyrids are known to show up at a rate of 10-20 per hour at the peak, though that's on a moonless night, according to

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through the paths of rubble left behind by comets. The Lyrids get their name from the fact that they appear to emanate from the constellation Lyra, which according to Greek mythology depicts an eagle carrying the lyre of Orpheus.

In reality, scientists know that the meteors come from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher that passes Earth once every 415 years, according to

EarthSky suggests the best time to watch is early in the morning of April 23. So if you only want to commit one morning to hunting the meteors, that's the one. Otherwise, if you're up early enough before sunrise starting Wednesday, look up to the sky when you can for a chance to see one.

No special equipment is needed to spot the meteors, which can appear streaking anywhere across the sky, not just near Lyra. The best places to watch from are far from city lights.

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