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. raven

    Can't wait!!

    April 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WeDon'tMatter

    This is going to be one of those hot tub, Corona with lime kinda nights.

    April 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      ooh! Good idea! We hit a hundred in the Phoenix area today so the weather should be perfect tonight.

      April 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • daffle ©

      Corona with lime, how pedestrian.

      April 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • max

      Those are the best kind of nights. Shame I'm in Western MD and therefore likely missing out due to clouds..we just got a hot tub this year too :[

      April 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • joanne1965

      Can I come over? I'll bring some chips and dip? ; )

      April 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    @WeDon'tMatter: Good call! Wish I HAD a hot tub...

    April 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • n2it

      Go the cheap route; get a baby swimming pool, eat a lot of beans and give it a little time...

      April 22, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. ron

    Well I'm gonna be watchin this one on the back of my eyelids. I'll just have to wait for the book to come out.

    April 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Angela

    Just saw this about the meteor shower. As luck would have it, we've got an 80% chance of rain tonight here on MD's Eastern Shore so don't know if the sky will clear at any time during the night. We really need rain here so perhaps tomorrow night we might have a chance of seeing something. I envy you folks who will be able to see this. Enjoy!

    April 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy

    Lol how does one watch anything on the back of their eyelids? That would mean you would be asleep and watching nothing!

    April 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Hey........you got it.

      April 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cosmicsnoop

    Long ago, when I was young, my two friends and I were doing bouncer work at a party on Martha's Vineyard that was down this long, dark dirt road. We were half way down the road and only letting those in that were invited and it was during these meteor showers. They were pretty cool, but at one point this huge fireball flared across the sky for like ten seconds. We all just looked at each other and I don't think anyone even said anything because it was so impressive. The bong hits were a nice touch too.

    April 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      The story was great, and then ending made me laugh so hard that I did a spit-take!

      April 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. montie

    Was it a meteor that hit northern ca. last night ? It should have registered on the ricktor scale !

    April 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    cosmicsnoops comment set me off too. So funny!

    April 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    Using the word pedestrian...how uppity.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jknot

    How Pedestrian...Pffff, get a life, crack open some Corona's or whatever and enjoy the show...

    April 22, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    Yea Cindy, I live in Tempe, we just had a nice fireworks display, I think for the Pat's Run & ASU football scrimmage. game. This will be a great topper for the night. It does look darker than usual, as I cannot see the moon at all, should be decent viewing! 🙂

    April 22, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. TvNyC

    Son of God is here and His father is sending last minute warnings to everybody. We are all about to experience a change. A change that will have everybody on its toes. It will be a good change. God is forgiving us again by sending His son to earth, although this time is different Jesus will not announce Himself but He will descend back to heaven with everybody that is a Jesus believer, and that He is the son of God. That means everybody is invited. You will be on a waiting list though if you don't believe in Jesus and God right now. Start believing right now. God is always there. He listens. Just believe in yourself first. God understands that you have to know who you are before you do anything. Thats why He forgives. God blessed you already. Just ask for his future blessing. Believe.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • jaw4

      Hey-you're in the wrong place. This story is about the meteor shower. I think you meant to comment on a story from CNN's Belief section.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • angela birch

      A meteor shower that has been watched fro the last 2600 years is a last minute warning???

      April 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Crater

    Did the meteorologist really say the dark side of the moon will be facing earth? Really? The same face of the moon faces earth whether it is lit with sunlight or not. Is she that dumb?

    April 22, 2012 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Marthalynne Webb

      Thank you for critical reasoning Crater –

      April 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Patrish

    There just showing off for Earth Day 🙂

    April 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
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