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Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018: When, Where & How to See It

At some point this weekend you will want to look up in the sky. You will probably see some clouds and maybe some planes.

And, if you do it wrong, you will also see the sun (please don’t look into the sun). But those are things you’d see most weekends.

This weekend will feature something different, as our universe puts on a show for us here on Earth. It’s a performance you will not want to miss.

It happens once a year

This weekend will see the return of the Lyrid meteor shower, which is an annual thing. According to NASA, it is expected to be at its peak on Sunday the 22nd, at around 1 p.m. ET.

The show really started Friday, but anyone who looks up during its peak Sunday will see a predicted 18 meteors per hour, which is a good amount and quite cool. We will also have a good look at Lyrids the nights before and after its Sunday peak.

So in other words, you’ll have ample opportunity to catch it, though it will be more impressive at certain times.

Where will I want to watch from?

As with most things in the sky, the most ideal place to view Lyrids will be somewhere without much ambient light and pollution. Getting away from the city would be ideal, but if that’s not an option, looking at the sky long enough so that your eyes can adjust to the dark will help.

From there, you will want to have as good a view of the sky as you can, with a focus on the constellation Lyra. It would also help if the Moon is not in the sky, as its light will interfere with the view whereas a darker sky will reveal more meteors.

For reference, check out this dash cam video that was shot of a massive meteor that streaked through the Texas sky in March 2017. This meteor was so large it created a sonic boom, which is quite rare.

Lyrids will not be as large nor make any substantial sounds, but it will be more abundant.

What is the Lyrids meteor shower?

Lyrids comes around each year, between April 16 and April 26. It is courtesy of dust shed by a long-period comet known as C/1861 G1 Thatcher. Observed since 687 BC, it is the oldest recorded meteor shower.

Every 60 years or so the Lyrids shower intensifies as the planets steer the comet’s dust trail into Earth’s path. That is known as a Lyrid meteor outburst.

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