Every year more than a dozen Meteor Showers light up the night sky, in April 2018 stargazers will have the opportunity to watch the Lyrid Meteor Shower.From April 16 until April 25 an annual cosmic event, the Lyrid Meteor Shower will be visible in the northern hemisphere. The Lyrids are, among scientists, considered the oldest meteor shower known to man and one of the best cosmic light displays of the year. The showers occur as debris left behind Comet Thatcher collides with the earth’s atmosphere, producing fireballs and shooting stars that have a celestial effect to those watching from the ground.
The Lyrid Meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Lyra which also is the spot in the sky where the showers occur. On average the Lyrids produces between 15 and 20 shooting stars and fireballs per hour and is known to sometimes produce as many 100 per hour, although very rarely. Scientists have predicted that this year the Lyrids will produce roughly about 18 meteors per hour and the peak viewing time will occur on April 22. Weather permitting, this year’s Lyrids will be aided by a first-quarter moon which will have set when the showers occur as well as bright light from the star Vega. [caption id="attachment_7097" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Courtesy of EarthSky[/caption] Stargazers who wish to view the Lyrids can do so by locating constellation Lyra, just northeast of the star Vega. Upon locating the constellation Lyra, stargazers should set their eyes just beside Lyra as the most impressive shooting stars happen just outside the radiant. As is the case with all meteor showers, the best places to watch are in rural areas away from the artificial light of cities and highly populated areas; forests, parks, and farmland tend to provide the best views. If you want to watch the Lyrids, you should also keep an eye on the weather as clear skies are a must while the highest concentration of shooting stars and fireballs tends to occur in the pre-dawn hours. If you are not a morning person, just after midnight is also a good time to watch, and if you don't have a telescope or binoculars, don't fret as neither is necessary. To learn more about the Lyrids and other meteor showers, visit the American Meteor Society’s webpage.