Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight

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Stargazers are in for a treat this weekend with the Lyrid meteor shower is going to light up the night sky.

"With bright moonlight and light pollution, expect to see only about two to seven meteors per hour", Kevin D. Conor wrote in his article psoted on jearseybest.com.

"Many areas in the North and Central regions can view the meteor shower". In general, 10-20 Lyrid meteors can be seen per hour during their peak.

Increasing cloud cover and rain by daybreak will hinder our chances. The shower usually peaks around April 22 and the morning of April 23.

Though the Lyrid aren't the brightest shower observed by humans - the Perseuds and Geminids both outshine them - it is one of the oldest.

The Lyrids' source, the Comet Thatcher, orbits the sun every 415 years, but Earth passes through its path every year during the springtime.

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The annual Lyrid meteor shower, derived from particles dropped by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher), runs from April 16 to 28 and peaks on Monday, April 22. As it stands, we could see some showers and storms overnight and into the morning.

The best skywatching times will be in the evening before the moon fully rises, or around 11 p.m.

"Lie down comfortably on a blanket or lawn chair, and look straight up".

The Lyrids are marked by fast and bright meteors, sometimes reaching rate of up to 100 per hour.

That will also be the best time to see slower, longer meteors that streak horizontally across the sky, called earthgrazers. "Its glare will drown out all but the brightest Lyrids".

One thing hopeful viewers of the shower can do, according to experts, is make sure they're viewing at the right time.

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