ORLANDO, Florida – The Lyrid meteor shower, which occurs each year in mid-April, is set to peak on the nights of April 21 and 22 in 2023.
However, the shower will also be visible from April 15 through April 29, providing the opportunity to spot shooting stars every night during this period.
Lyrids are pieces of debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher that have been observed for more than 2,700 years.
In mid-April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of cosmic debris from the comet which causes the Lyrid meteor shower and the resulting shooting stars seen from Earth.
The number of Lyrids is very unpredictable, with peak meteor rates between 10-100 per hour.
Lyrids are best seen around 4 a.m. your local time in the northern hemisphere but can be seen anytime after 11 p.m.
There will be little to no moon during the peak Lyrid dates. So, this dark night sky will create excellent viewing conditions for the 2023 Lyrid meteor shower.
The Lyrid meteor shower can be viewed from all over the world. Cloudless skies and far away from city lights are ideal for watching meteor showers.
You can tell if a meteor belongs to a particular shower by tracing back its path to see if it originates near a specific point in the sky, called the radiant.
The constellation in which the radiant is located gives the shower its name, and in this case, Lyrids appear to come from a point in the constellation Lyra which is located in the Summer Triangle.
The Summer Triangle is made of the three bright stars Deneb in Cygnus (the Swan), Altair in Aquila (the Eagle), and Vega in Lyra (the Lyre, or harp). Night skywatchers will be able to find Vega and Lyra high in the eastern sky a few hours after midnight in April.
For optimal viewing, find an open sky, lie on the ground, and look straight up into the dark sky.
Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt.