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. TORI ©

    Lyrid was a no show last night here in The Old Pueblo. Phoenix peeps, I doubt you saw anything either. We are going to hit the century mark today, so perhaps that will have an impact on tonights viewing pleasure but I doubt it.

    April 22, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. The truth

    Troy, you don't know what "just before dawn" means?

    April 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @banasy, sanity, I'm not sure about that. I adored every experience I had while in France and now want to finish my studies over there. I'm glad all is well in the banasy world.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Banasy world.
      I call it banasyland, lol.

      Your Mother and Father would miss you terribly were you to do that, and so would we here at the blogs.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @TORI, my little sleeping beauty, I support your choice but you will not be giving up your American citizenship.

      April 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      That is why I love you and I will never give up my citizenship. You are quiet as a mouse up there. You are either sleeping or have your phone on silent. Maybe you are outside. I'll find you mom.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    @ Troy, Rub the sleep outta your eyes ... It says "after midnight and just before dawn"

    April 22, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. The Kraut

    "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."
    Reading all the way to the end can be very enlightening.

    April 22, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    To my troll @ 2:l3, how about we meet in person? I guarantee you will be crappin your pants for real witch! Thanks @ CNN for leaving that post, while deleting legitimate posts! And you wonder why your ratings are slipping????

    April 22, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      slipping??? They fell off the map 12 years ago!

      April 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @chrissy, I have missed you sweet lady. I see that nothing has changed on here. Why, I ask, is that still up?

      April 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Aparrently so...

    April 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That came out in the wrong place.
      Who know what's up with that?

      Welcome home, dear heart!

      April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Apparently I can't spell apparently, either...lol...

      April 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @banasy, my dear friend, thank you. I will never forget your kindness to me when I first showed up on the blog board. How are you? It is good to be home.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Thank you, @TORI©!
      I am fine...we are glad to have you back here; a spark of sanity here!
      This are moving merrily along for me...and for you?
      Did you enjoy your time abroad?

      April 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    @ TORI

    Welcome home. You have been sorely missed on these blogs.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @bobcat, thank you for that. I am very happy to be back. I just wish that CNN would put up today's events. How are you?

      April 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ TORI

      I'm doing very well, thank you. It's always a slow day for CNN on Sunday. If you want to say anything, you have to go to yesterdays news.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • TORI ©

      @bobcat, all I can say is OMG,OMG,OMG. How did you and mom pull this off? Both of us were literally sitting on the floor laughing and crying with smeary mascaraed eyes. So @dazzle drives my friends home, goes to church(no the roof didn't collapse) and she strolls in with a gigantic shopping bag from Cole Haan with all of these beautifully wrapped packages. It was sweet to get some new leather goods But then, I opened the last box and it was my old Tickle Me Elmo doll with a gigantic marble enhancement! Then she gave me a card that had your poem on it with your screen name and it was signed Love, Mom and bobcat(iah) and she sketched a picture of a bobcat wearing a baseball cap. I loved it and we are still laughing like loons. Thank you so much!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ TORI

      I am so glad you liked that. But give the biggest credit to your mom. When she told me what she was going to do with Elmo, I hit the floor laughing. Job well done @dazzle.
      And again Tori, Welcome Home.

      April 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Oh, TORI©, you got your gift!
      I have been waiting to hear about it!
      I take it you liked it..
      Tell your Mom to send me a pic!!

      April 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    chrissy, I want to ride you around the room.

    April 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick Springfield

    Light pollution will prevent most urban dwellers to see anything except passing airliners. Its harder to find a clean place to view anything these days. Have to pretty much go to Canada's wilderness. Even in rural USA the locals have build mcmansions with security lights.

    April 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. politicallyinsurrect

    "The darker side of the moon faces the Earth.." That's a very confusing way of stating it. The moon is tidally locked with the Earth, so we always see the same side of it. At least that's my understanding.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    I stayed up late to watch...all I saw were two flashes...dud city...

    April 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. greg

    google makes a program for smart phones that is free called google skymap that will let you use your smartphone to show you where that constellation is so you know the right way to look

    April 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stevensb

    This is just a cover story for the first wave of the Lyridian invasion !!!! The self destructing recon drone went over Ca./Nev. and area 51 this morning , huge explosion , streaking fireball ..........
    May the Schwarz be with us !!!!!

    April 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ry

    Had one break through the atmosphere in Northern California this morning at 8:03am pst. Viewed by many in the Reno area, and the sonic boom was heard from Reno to Sacramento.

    April 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chrissy

    and @ rob, you definitely crossed the line, watch your mouth!

    April 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
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