Lyrid Meteor Shower: A free show in the skies while stuck at home

Best viewing early Wednesday morning

Lyrid Meteor Shower: A free show in the skies while stuck at home
Meteor photo from Astronomer Ken Wilson from a few years ago (Source: Ken Wilson, Astronomer)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you are looking for a free astronomy lesson for kids of all ages, the Lyrid meteor shower just might provide a show.

Astronomer Ken Wilson tells me, “This should be a good year for this shower since the moon won’t interfere.”

While the moon will not be in the way, your neighborhood lights might be. The best way to see a meteor is to find a rural spot away from city lights.

Meteor photo from Astronomer Ken Wilson from a few years ago
Meteor photo from Astronomer Ken Wilson from a few years ago (Source: Ken Wilson, Astronomer)

Tonight’s forecast of clearing skies should help as well! The only issue might be with timing. As with all of our meteor showers, the best time to see the showers is in the pre-dawn hours, although you might get lucky and see a few as early as 10pm. The Lyrids don’t typically produce as many meteors as the Perseids or Geminids but they tend to produce a decent amount of bright, long-lasting meteors called “fireballs.”

The shooting stars you see are little bits of dirt and dust from the tail of a comet burning up as they hit our atmosphere.

It doesn’t take any special equipment or knowledge to see a meteor. They can be seen in any part of the sky. The key is to dress warmly, lay on a blanket or lounge chair, and look up at the darkest part of the sky. No telescope of binocular is needed.

Give it a shot! An early morning wakeup call might pay off with some shooting stars.

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