Here's When You Can See the Lyrid Meteor Shower in 2021
Next month, one of the oldest known meteor showers will peak in the U.S. The Lyrid meteor shower, which is named after a constellation of shooting stars, will peak on the night of April 21, 2021, and the wee morning hours of April 22. Observations of the Lyrids date back to 687 B.C. The mesmerizing display of meteors is a result of Earth passing through the tail of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. As our planet moves through the debris, space rocks burn up the Earth's atmosphere, which causes spectacular showers to streak across the night sky.
Although experts expect that the showers will peak during late April, they say that this is not only one of the weakest meteor showers, but it is also one of the most unpredictable. "We like to say that meteor showers are like fishing. You go out in the country to some scenic spot, and you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. And sometimes you catch something," Deborah Byrd, editor-in-chief of EarthSky, told TODAY.
At its peak, the meteor shower will only produce about 20 shooting stars per hour. Every so often, however, you may catch a glimpse of up to 100 meteors per hour, a phenomenon known as an "outburst." Meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space that he expects this year's shower will produce approximately 10 meteor showers per hour. "People say there is some periodicity there, but the data doesn't support that," he says.
The meteor shower will be best be viewed in the Northern Hemisphere on a clear night. The Lyrid meteor shower is not dull, but it's certainly not the most luminous, especially compared to the Perseid meteor shower, which occurs in August of each year.