lyrid meteor shower

2021 Lyrid Meteor Shower to Dazzle Night Sky With Shooting Stars

The annual Lyrid meteor shower, which is active from about April 16 to April 30, is expected to peak overnight on April 21-22

Stars illuminate the sky on a clear night in London
Simon Robling/Getty Images

If you like shooting stars, you're in luck. The annual Lyrid meteor shower, which is active from about April 16 to April 30, is expected to peak overnight on April 21-22.

The average Lyrid shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour, and this year skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere can expect to see about 18 per hour — weather-permitting — during the shower, according NASA.

Peak viewing time will be before dawn Thursday, but the Lyrids will become visible beginning at about 10:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday. 

Visibility will be best for skywatchers in areas far from sources of light and buildings or other possible obstructions, according to Space.com. This year, the waxing gibbous moon, the phase at which more than half of the moon's surface is illuminated, may also interfere with observations, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

"Get up early before dawn, after the moon has set. You have a pretty good chance of seeing some Lyrids this year," Cooke said. 

According to NASA, the best way to find the meteors' radiant, or point at which they appear to originate from, is to lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors.

The Lyrids aren't as spectacular as the Perseids, which return each August. But with the first recorded sighting of the Lyrids going all the way back to 687 B.C., they're the oldest known meteor shower.

Five things to know ahead of the annual Lyrid meteor shower.
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