Stargazers are getting quite a gift this weekend because the oldest meteor shower in our galaxy, the Lyrid meteor shower, is reaching its most radiant peak.
The Lyrid meteor shower began April 16 and will continue through April 25, but it appears this weekend will be prime time for meteor viewing.
According to Accuweather, the meteor shower is expected to peak this Saturday evening into Sunday morning, just in time for Earth Day. Then, the Lyrid meteor shower will bring with it as many as 20 meteors streaking across the night sky every hour.
“The Lyrid meteor shower will be the first significant meteor shower in a few months,” AccuWeather astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. He added that the best night to view the Lyrids is Saturday, April 21, though some meteors will still be visible well into Sunday night.
To get your best chance at seeing the intergalactic show, Samuhel said to look to the sky after midnight when the radiant — the area in the sky from which the meteors originate — is highest in the sky.
And as EarthSky explained, the showers got their name because if you trace the paths of all the Lyrid meteors backward into their center, they will all seem to radiate from the constellation Lyra the Harp, near the star Vega.
“Lay back and get as much of the sky in your view as possible, and just wait,” Samuhel said.
As with all stargazing, it’s crucial for people looking to view the meteor shower to get out of the city or even their town and find the darkest area possible with minimal light pollution. The best locations to view the stars, Accuweather explained, will be across much of the northeastern and southwestern United States, where the sky is expected to be primarily clear. Thankfully, the waxing moon won’t interfere too much with viewing the meteors either.