Lights Off, Blankets Out: Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

Famous Paris street comes to a standstill after a police officer is shot

Astronomers predict up to 20 meteors an hour late Friday into Saturday morning in dark sky areas with clear skies.

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 almost to its new moon phase.

For best viewing, get away from bright lights and focus on one particular part of the sky. NASA forecasts that the peak rate of the Lyrids will be 18 meteors per hour in 2017.

The Lyrid shower occurs every April when the Earth passes through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher. Vega and Lyra are found high in the eastern sky a few hours after midnight during April 2017.

The Lyrids is one of the oldest known meteor showers, with records going back about 2,700 years, EarthSky says. Up to 20 meteors per hour are expected to be streaking across the night sky. But the meteors themselves are often fast and bright. The East Coast will be shrouded in clouds, making it harder to see the meteors.

Even after escaping to darker skies, anyone watching will need to let their eyes adjust to the dark. The waning crescent Moon rises at around 4 a.m. local daylight on April 22, and it sheds little light into the predawn sky. The Lyrids may likely still be at their peak on April 23, so if you can't catch them tonight, there's still tomorrow to look forward to.

If you're looking to spot some of the meteors, all you have to do is look up. It doesn't show you the glowing streaks in the sky, but its fascinating to watch meteoroids show up as multicoloured peaks in these scrolling, auto-updating 3D radar graphs.

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