A chance to see a natural light show in the night sky is coming up for those who don’t mind staying up a bit late.
The Lyrid meteor shower started April 16 and will continue through Thursday.
According to Dr. Gary Senn with the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center, depending on how wide the debris field is, the best nights to see the meteor shower will probably be Sunday and or Monday.
About 10 to 20 meteors can be seen per hour on the peak days of the event, according to NASA, and this particular shower will occasionally produce sporadic bursts of close to 100 meteors per hour.
This is an annual meteor shower that occurs about the same time in April each year.
The best time to see the spectacle is after midnight, particularly between 1 and 3 a.m., right before the sky begins to brighten with the rising sun, Senn said.
Senn said no equipment is needed to see the meteor shower, and it’s best to view with the naked eye. Senn said to grab a lawn chair or blanket and find a spot away from light pollution to get the best view.
Senn said meteor showers are named after the direction they are coming from – the Lyrid meteor shower will radiate from the constellation Lyra.
Senn added that a meteor shower consists of debris from space, typically left over from comets, that cross the Earth’s path.
A comet is a body of material including rock and ice that have a very elliptical path that is typically routed in the deeper parts of the solar system. When it passes the Earth, a comet is closer to the sun so the tail that is seen following it is the surface melting, which leaves the bits of debris.
Senn said meteor showers are quite a sight to see.
“I enjoy going out there,” Senn said. “It’s a dazzling display of light across the night sky.”