A composite image of Lyrid and non-Lyrid meteors, seen over New Mexico from April 21-23, 2012. (NASA/MSFC Photo / Danielle Moser)
If you’re up late tonight and into Saturday morning, you might as well look up and try to catch a glimpse of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, which is supposed to peak in the early morning hours of April 22.
According to NASA, the Lyrids are “pieces of debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have been observed for more than 2,600 years.” Each year in mid-April, Earth comes across the stream of debris from the comet, which causes the Lyrid meteor shower.
A dark sky location away from city light is your best bet for prime viewing, so long as cloud cover doesn’t become a factor. National Weather Service meteorologist Art Gaebel told The Seattle Times that there is a threat of cloudy skies over Seattle and Western Washington after 2 a.m., so it may make more sense to head for clear skies east of the Cascades.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a post that 18 meteors per hour should be visible, and that bright moonlight won’t be a problem because the moon will be nearly to its new moon phase.
More details about what to look for in April skies can be found in this JPL video: