Lyrid Meteor Shower starts tonight: how and where to watch

Meteor showers to be observed tomorrow
Meteor shower to light up WA skies this weekend

23 April, 2017

Keen stargazers are in for a treat this weekend as the Lyrid meteor shower peaks in the night sky.

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

The sky cover forecast for 4 a.m. Saturday shows who will have a tough time seeing meteors overnight.

It's caused when Earth passes through a region of the solar system where there's lots of debris from a comet called C/186 Thatcher - which was discovered in 1861.

Prospects are much better east of the Cascades, where skies are predicated to remain clear Friday night. The chances of seeing the Lyrids in action should be especially good in the coming days, as the moon is nearing its new moon phase, which is scheduled to take place on April 26. The higher Vega is in the sky, the more Lyrids are likely to be seen.

This is an average of one every three minutes, according to Astronomy magazine.

The Lyrids are one of the oldest known annual meteor showers.

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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.

For the record, a fireball is a meteor that burns incredibly bright as it hits the Earth's atmosphere. But where should you look, when is the best time to look, and what's the deal with this meteor shower?

Even after escaping to darker skies, anyone watching will need to let their eyes adjust to the dark.

If you're looking to spot some of the meteors, all you have to do is look up.

For optimal viewing, find an open sky, lie on the ground, and look straight up into the dark sky.

Check the weather before you leave.

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