LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – From January to April, there hasn’t been any major meteor showers. Late April, however, provides an end to this “meteor drought” as the Lyrid meteor shower occurs.
The Lyrid meteor shower is usually active each year from April 16-25. This year’s expected peak will by during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, April 22. April 23 may also be good for viewing, too.
The Lyrids are the oldest known meteors to man. Records of their existence go back 2,700 years to 687 B.C. when the ancient Chinese first saw them flying across the sky like rain. The source of the Lyrid meteor shower is the Comet Thatcher.
During peak activity, skywatchers can expect 10-15 meteors per hour. The best sights will come away from city lights. Some meteors may leave a glowing trail of dust as they burn up traveling into the Earth’s atmosphere at approximately 110,000 mph.
According to the American Meteor Society, the meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky from midnight to dawn. Before midnight, the meteors may be seen looking northeast.
Because the moon will be 70% illuminated, the best time to view the meteor shower is from moonset to just before sunrise. For Arkansas, that timeline is 4:01 a.m. to 6:28 a.m. CST.