By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – This weekend is going to offer the perfect viewing conditions for the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Experts say the shower will reach maximum intensity overnight from Saturday to Sunday (April 21 to 22), with the best observing opportunities coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd. With the moon nearly new tonight, it should be dark enough to have a great view.
NASA forecasters expect a peak rate of 15 meteors per hour this weekend, though the Lyrids have produced outbursts of 100 per hour in past years. NASA scientists plan to track the Lyrid meteor shower using a network of all-sky cameras on Earth, as well as from a student-launched balloon in California. Meanwhile, an astronaut on the International Space Station will attempt to photograph the meteors from space.
The Lyrids occur each year in mid-April when the Earth passes through a stream of dust left over from the comet Thatcher, a long-period object that orbits the sun once every 415 years. The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Lyra, which will appear in the northeastern sky at midnight.
For more information and sky watching tips visit www.space.com/skywatching/