Lyrids Meteor Shower Peaks This Week, But Moon Will Make Meteors Hard to Spot

The Lyrids meteor shower is set to peak overnight between Sunday and Monday, but space enthusiasts may have a hard time spotting the cosmic event due to the brightness of the moon, which will be in its waxing gibbous stage as the full moon nears. Even in ideal conditions and away from any light pollution, only a few meteors per hour are expected to be visible to the naked eye.

According to NASA, the Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers and have been observed for over 2,700 years. Despite their name, the meteor shower is no longer associated with the Lyra constellation. Instead, the shower is now linked to the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861.

The best time to see the meteor shower is overnight on Sunday and Monday. Ideally, viewers should head to country locations with dark and clear skies far from any light pollution. It is also important for sky watchers to place themselves in the moon's shadow, as the moon's brightness can obstruct the view of the meteors.

While the Lyrids are known for surges that can create a stunning show of up to 100 meteors per hour, this year's shower is likely to be less impressive due to the bright moon. Instead, viewers may see 10 to 15 Lyrids per hour in a dark sky with no moon.

Meteors are space rocks that enter Earth's atmosphere and create bright streaks of light as they speed through our skies. Several meteor showers occur throughout the year, and each one has its own unique characteristics.

Sky watchers should also keep an eye out for April's full moon, known as the Pink Moon, which will rise this month. Astronomers suggest admiring the moon's brilliance as it peaks on Tuesday at 7:49 p.m. EDT, though it will appear full from Monday morning through Thursday morning.

The next meteor shower to look forward to is the Eta Aquariids, which is estimated to peak from Saturday, May 4, to Sunday, May 5. NASA notes that the Eta Aquariids are known for their speed, with meteors traveling at around 148,000 miles per hour. The moon will also be in a favorable position for observers this time around, so the shower should be more visible than the Lyrids.

Finally, sky watchers can look forward to May's full moon, known as the Flower Moon, which will reach peak illumination on May 23. So, whether you're admiring a meteor shower or the various moons, remember to look up and enjoy the show!

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