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Wednesday Night Peak of Lyrid Meteor Shower to Dazzle Skygazers in Midwest, Mid-Atlantic

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 4/21/2015 Kevin Byrne, Staff Writer

Beginning late in the evening of April 22 and continuing through the early morning hours of April 23, the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower will dazzle skygazers around the world.

Observers can expect to see 10-20 meteors darting across the sky during the height of the shower, but the Lyrids have a history of putting on surprising performances. In 1982 and 1922, the shower delivered a reported 90 meteors per hour.

The Lyrids will be visible to viewers in most parts of the world, but the timing of the peak may favor those in Europe, according to Slooh.

Astronomy fans saddled with inclement weather or cloudy skies, can view Slooh's live broadcast of the meteor shower beginning at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

Slooh frequently airs live astronomy events by using community observatories from all around the world. Additionally, Slooh's broadcast will have an accompanying radio feed that allows viewers to hear the sounds of the meteors entering the ionosphere. After the event concludes, Slooh will show a replay of the event.

"As the meteors enter the ionosphere, they, appropriately enough, ionize the air and that serves as a reflector for radio waves, so they actually give a crackle and a sound at the speed of light," Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman previously told

The best viewing conditions in the U.S. will stretch from the northern Plains to the Upper Midwest, then down into the Ohio Valley and the mid-Atlantic region, Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said.

The worst conditions, due to cloud coverage, might actually be across the Gulf Coast area from southern Texas over to parts of Florida, Dombek said. Other regions that could be hampered by clouds include the northern Rockies, northern Great Lakes, upstate New York and northern New England.

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In 2014, the Lyrids were hampered in part due to moonlight from the last-quarter moon, but that won't be the case this year.

"This year the moon will be a waxing crescent only one-fifteenth the brightness of a full moon, and it will set early, allowing excellent dark sky conditions for this shower," Berman said. "Typically, Lyrids produce a gratifying number of fireballs, which is surprising since their moderate speeds of 30 miles per second is only about 75 percent that of the August Perseids or November Leonids. This should be an exciting experience."

The best time for viewing the Lyrids at their peak will occur between the midnight and predawn hours Thursday and observers can look anywhere in the sky to see the Lyrids, provided skies are clear.

The Lyrids radiant point is about 10 degrees southwest of the star Vega, a blue-white star that can be seen by stargazers in the Northeast by 10 p.m. in mid-April, according to Slooh.

Unlike other meteor showers, such as the Quadrantids in January, there is no sharp peak for the Lyrids. As the star Vega gets higher in the sky later at night, you tend to see more meteors, Berman said.


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