NewsNationalScripps News

One of the oldest known meteor showers returns this week

The Lyrids, named for the nearby constellation Lyra, have been observed for 2,700 years, according to NASA.
One of the oldest known meteor showers returns this week
Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 16, 2024

Move over solar eclipse, it’s time for another celestial phenomenon to take center stage. The oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids, is peaking this week.

The sharp peak falls between April 20 and April 22, according to EarthSky.org, but you may start seeing some flashes across the night sky any night this week. 

According to NASA, the best view in the Northern Hemisphere of the shower is after moonset and before dawn. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and wait about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust in the dark to start seeing the meteors. 

Meteor showers happen at regular intervals as the Earth passes through the trail of dusty debris left by a comet, NASA said. They are usually named after a star or constellation that is close to where the meteors appear in the sky. 

The Lyrids, named for the nearby constellation Lyra, have been observed for 2,700 years, according to NASA

NASA said the most well-known meteor shower is likely the Perseids, which usually peak in August of each year. And while the Lyrids are not as plentiful as Perseids, NASA said as many as 100 meteors can be seen per hour. 

The Lyrid meteor shower is composed of pieces of debris from the comet Thatcher, named for Alfred E. Thatcher who discovered it in 1861, according to EarthSky.org. 

SEE MORE: What was that red spot at the bottom of the moon during the eclipse?


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com