Lyrid Meteor Shower starts tonight: how and where to watch

Lyrid Meteor Shower starts tonight: how and where to watch

Lyrid Meteor Shower starts tonight: how and where to watch

If the weather cooperates, Washingtonians could get a glimpse of the annual Lyrid meteor shower Friday night.

According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory this year's peak viewing nights will be April 22 and 23.

"Best viewing should occur between 2 am and dawn Saturday".

This illustration simulates the view to the east-northeast as seen from the heart of the British Isles at 12am local time on Saturday 22 April.

Every year in April, the pieces of the comet Thatcher hit Earth's atmosphere at 109,600 miles per hour, vaporizing from friction caused by the air and leaving behind streaks of light called meteors. Night skywatchers will be able to find Vega and Lyra high in the eastern sky a few hours after midnight in April.

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If you have had your eyes trained to the skies over recent months to enjoy the sight of Jupiter shining bright, you are in for a treat this weekend as another spectacle in the night sky will become at its most visible, the Lyrid meteor shower.

Meteor showers are named after the constellation they appear to radiate from in the night sky, and the Lyrids are named after the constellation Lyra. But the meteors themselves are often fast and bright. Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt.

"You'll want to watch the sky for an hour or more, so comfort is key", said Astronomy magazine's Richard Talcott.

According to EarthSky, the Lyrid meteor showers is usually active from April 16 to 25, with viewers likely to see its meteors anytime during the active period.

Also, try watching the meteors on radar.

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