Tonight, the Lyrid meteor shower will be taking place. They might not be as powerful as the Perseids or Quadrantids, but the Lyrids always have the potential to put on a show for astrophotographers of all experience levels.
According to the American Meteor Society, the Lyrids ‘are a medium strength shower that usually produces good rates for three nights centered on the maximum.’ Most of the activity is best viewed from the northern hemisphere, but can sometimes be seen from the southern hemisphere as well.
The meteors, which will shoot across the sky at roughly 30 miles per second, are the result of debris that has become dislodged from Comet C/1861 G1, more affectionately referred to as Thatcher.
Tonight, the first night of the shower, will produce the strongest showing. However, there’s a good chance you could also catch a few meteors throughout the remainder of the weekend.
The meteors themselves will likely come from the direction of Lyra, the the constellation that inspires the name of tonight’s shower. As pointed out by Gizmodo though, the moonlight tonight will likely drown out much of the initial burst of the meteors.
Thus, the best bet will be to keep an eye out slightly outwards of where Lyra is located.
Image credits: Lyrid Meteor by John Flannery used under CC BY-SA 2.0 and Lyrid by Bruce McClure and Joni Hall used under CC BY-SA 3.0