Known as one of the oldest meteor showers, the Lyrids have been observed for more than 2,700 years.
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long exposure night image of lyrid meteor
Credit: Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

If you missed the pink moon last weekend, you still have the opportunity to spot something truly magnificent in the sky very soon. One of the oldest known meteor showers is expected to peak in the United States on the night of April 21 or April 22. The Lyrid meteor shower, which is named after a constellation of shooting stars, dates back to 687 B.C. and is the result of Earth passing through the tail of the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

Unlike some showers, the peak of the Lyrids is narrow, meaning you won't have weeklong stretches of meteor watching opportunities. According to experts, the predicted peak is midnight eastern standard time, but a bright moon that morning may make the shower hard to see. "Your best bet for watching the Lyrids in 2022 is to watch in the hour before your local midnight, before the moon rises or gets very high in the sky," EarthSky.org reports. The bright waning gibbous moon will rise between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. and will obscure the brightest meteors. Experts say to head outside between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. when the sky is still dark.

The Lyrids often produce bright meteors and an occasional fireball, which makes them easier to see and photograph, according to the American Meteor Society. If the morning of peak activity is cloudy, the AMS says the next night will still provide exceptional views of the shower. By the morning of the 24th, meteor rate will fall to only two to three per hour and will continue to fall each night after until the gradually disappear at the end of the month until next year.

If you are dedicated to catching a glimpse of the spectacular sight, the AMS recommends watching for at least an hour as "numerous peaks and valleys of activity will occur." While the average Lyrid shower produces 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour, you may sometimes see up to 100 meteors per hour, a phenomenon known as an "outburst." No outburst is predicted for 2022, but you'll have to watch and see for yourself if one occurs.

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