April showers? Yes! The 16th to the 26th this month brings us the April Lyrid Meteor Shower, with the peak occurring on April 22nd.
The meteors in this shower tend to be bright and leave persistent trains as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. In recent years the shower has averaged 10 to 20 meteors per hour.
You may think that this sounds like a fairly mediocre shower and not worth bothering with, but it has been known for the Lyrids to surge and rates rise rapidly to over 100 per hour! This is what makes this shower so interesting and difficult to predict. Will it be a biggy this year or not?
Lyrid meteors radiate from a point (radiant) in the constellation of Lyra and this is where this shower gets its name. The best time to look for Lyrid meteors will late in the evening on April 22nd after 10 pm as the constellation of Lyra rises up from the northeast horizon.
This will give you 2 or 3 hours of meteor watching before the waning gibbous moon rises and starts to wash out the sky. But still, it’s well worth staying up to see as many bright meteors as possible.