Don’t Miss Your Chance to See April’s Lyrid Meteor Shower

April 22, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Photography of shooting stars

Here’s how to watch it!

In what was the perfect start to Earth Day (today) — a day meant to remind us that there is more to life than buying the latest phone even though your current one works fine, to turn off the unused lights in your home, to walk more, to recycle, and to know that you are capable of making the world a slightly better place, not just for yourself, but for others too — the annual Lyrid meteor shower peaked.

The hypnotic display will remain visible across all of the Northern and parts of the Southern Hemispheres until April 25, with meteors streaking across the sky at 107,000 miles per hour.

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through a trail of dust and debris that has been ejected by an asteroid or comet as it orbits the sun. As this fast-moving debris hits Earth’s atmosphere, it encounters air particles and heats up, quickly disintegrating and appearing as flashes of light.

SEE ALSO: 11 Astronomical Events You Won’t Want to Miss in 2016

The Lyrid meteor shower is named after the Lyra constellation, which is harp-shaped and located near the bright star Vega. According to EarthSky, Lyrid showers are “among the oldest of known meteor showers,” with the first recorded event dating back to 687 B.C. in China.

Now, you may be wondering how to go about seeing the meteor shower. First, you should plan to wake up (or stay up) for the hours between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. EDT. Luckily, you do not require any special equipment for the meteor shower to be visible — just go outside to a nice, dark sky away from the city lights, lie flat on your back, and look to the sky.

Keep in mind that you are going to be outside for quite some time if you want to spot any meteors, so dress warmly. It takes around 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the dark, after which you should be able to see the shooting stars.

As stated by EarthSky, during the peak, you could expect to see between 10 to 20 meteors per hour. However, this year’s shower will likely yield far fewer because of a spotlight-snatching full moon, but it is possible that some will shine through the moon’s obstructive beams.

Although this meteor shower will not be as extravagant as most would like, it is not the only cool astronomical phenomenon happening this year. Here is a list of events you don’t want to miss.

You might also like: You Could Spot a Black Hole With Your Hobby Telescope

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