April 21st, 2012
06:07 PM ET

Your guide to the Lyrid meteor shower

Tonight and tomorrow night, look up at the sky for a spectacular light show.

The Lyrid Meteor Showers happen annually, but this year’s "moonless" night and lack of cloud cover for the western two-thirds of the United States will make for better views.

The moon is in its new phase - meaning the side facing Earth isn't lit up by the sun, NASA's meteor shower expert Bill Cooke told Space.com. Last year, the moonlight made it harder to see the Lyrid show.

"The Lyrids are really unpredictable," Cooke told Space.com. "I'm expecting 15 to 20 Lyrid meteors an hour. Back in 1982, they outburst to nearly 100 per hour. You really can't predict with this."

Space.com reports that the Lyrid shower - which takes place as the Earth passes through dust from comet Thatcher - has been watched by humans for more than 2,600 years.

The meteor shower's name comes from the constellation Lyra.

The best times to watch are after midnight and just before dawn. Look to the northeast and pick a viewpoint well away from city lights. The darker the sky, the brighter the meteors will appear.

NASA recommends watching with the naked eye instead of through a telescope or binoculars.

You can also join NASA's live chat tonight with Cooke and other experts.

Enjoy the show!

Bonnie Schneider is a meteorologist for CNN and HLN. Her book Extreme Weather is on sale wherever books are sold, and through her website: BonnieWeather.com.

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. dazzle ©

    Where oh where is my partner in crime @bobcat (iah), Elmo was a huge hit as you can see. Hope you don't mind that I signed your name to the card. The handbag and shoes were a hit but the doll and your poem really made my girls day. She laughed herself to sleep. What a joy to be laughing away with Tori. I think Elmo is sleeping with her now;-).

    April 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      LuC4, I've done nothing to you.
      Please stop it.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Donna, stop trolling yourself for attention and then blaming others.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Struck a nerve, Ellis?

      April 22, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Al Einstein

    1. Wait until dark
    2. Go outside
    3. Look up

    Repeat as needed

    April 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Joe

    Thank you, Nor'easter for ruining my fun,

    April 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. TORI ©

    Lyrid is still a no-show. Mom and I are camped out in the back yard, lying on our backs in our swimsuits so we can dive in the pool when we get too hot. Nothing in South Az but we are determined to make it until dawn. Anybody, seeing anything?

    April 23, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • LOL

      Yeah, your neighbor through binoculars looking in your direction! Sorry, just had to say it, you left that so open for comment! Now for the real answer, out in Colorado I havent seen anything yet.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Nice

      I'm up in Prescott Valley and I haven't seen anything either.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @LOL, I suppose you do not know what acreage means. It figures that you are from Colorado.

      April 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. dealership brokers

    Fantastic post. I've saved your website so I can revisit your future posts. Keep up the fantastic work!

    April 23, 2012 at 7:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
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