When To Look Up for the Lyrid Meteor Shower

This 2015 long-exposure photograph shows the Lyrid meteor shower passing near the Milky Way in the clear night sky. (Photo credit: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on Tuesday morning, but keep your eyes on the sky over the weekend as well.

There hasn’t been a meteor shower to light up the sky since early January, and this one will be visible around the globe.

The moon was full Friday, so it will still be quite bright in the early morning hours over the weekend and during the peak. Late evening hours based on your location, between 9 p.m. and midnight local time, may be the best time to see “shooting stars,” or meteors that burn up in our atmosphere.

That will also be the best time to see slower, longer meteors that streak horizontally across the sky, called earthgrazers. Some of them have trails that glow for seconds after the meteor has disappeared.

Typically, the Lyrid meteor shower can showcase between 10 and 20 meteors per hour during the peak, but it’s difficult to estimate how many will be visible.

The shower occurs this time each year when Earth’s orbit crosses paths with that of Comet Thatcher. The comet loses pieces of itself that go flying into our upper atmosphere at 110,000 miles per hour.

Lyrid gets its name from the Lyra constellation. The Lyrid shower is one of the oldest known, with records of visible meteors going back 2,700 years, according to EarthSky.

If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive to a place that isn’t littered with city lights that will obstruct your view.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. And give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness — without looking at your phone — so meteors are easier to spot.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.