The Lyrids meteor shower will be reaching its peak this year on the night of April 22, 2015 (early morning hours of April 23, 2015). In other words — the peak is almost here. 🙂
Given that the Lyrids are consistently one of the best and most reliable meteor showers of the year, the upcoming peak I something worth making note of, imo. The best days for watching the meteor shower generally stretch from April 16 (or so) through April 25 — with the peak sometime towards the center of that. Any of these nights will usually offer those watching a chance to see meteors though.
As far as times go, with the Lyrid meteor shower the best time to watch is usually just a couple of hours before dawn — anytime after the skies get nice and dark, though, will be good. The prediction this year is for 10-20 meteors an hour (when observing from a dark rural location).
There’s a limited possibility though (an unlikely one, that is) that 2015 will be a breakout year for the Lyrids — which happens occasionally. If that was to happen that peak rates could go as high a hundred (or more) meteors an hour. (Those interested in meteor showers that will very likely reach peak rates towards that number, should see: Meteor Showers 2015, Dates and Times, Perseids, Lyrids, Geminids, Leonids, Draconids, Orionids, Etc).
As we noted in our previous coverage:
As far as viewing conditions go — the darker the skies of the area that you’re watching from, the more meteors that you’ll see. Dark, rural locations far from the light pollution of cities are ideal — but if you can’t get far from the city, at the very least try to find a place without any lights (street lights, etc) in the immediate area.
While temperatures are likely to be fairly warm, it’s always a good idea to dress warmly, and to possibly bring a blanket and some hot coffee or chocolate — both of which go a ways towards improving the experience. A nice reclining chair is also an idea with some things going for it — giving you the option of getting off the ground (which probably has dog poo on it, if you’re anywhere near most modern cities).
While this year’s Lyrids won’t be anythg particularly out of the ordinary, it’s still a great meteor shower for meteor watching. And when combined with the pleasant spring weather, should make for a very enjoyable experience.
To keep tabs on the other celestial events of the year you can download this annual calendar of celestial events! (It’s a free PDF).
Image Credit: Screen Capture