The 2013 Lyrids Meteor Shower is at its peak between Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning but viewers can still see the spectacle until April 25. The bright moon may be an obstacle for the sky watchers but there are still some tips on how to best view the celestial display.
Astronomers claim that the annual Lyrids meteor shower can have the peak hourly rates of 15 to 20 meteors with the possibility of producing surprises on certain occasions. Astronomer Mark Hammergen from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois explained that the extraordinary meteor outbursts happen when planet Earth passes through a dense stream or cluster of debris in the comet's orbit.
"Brief outbursts of around a hundred meteors per hour have been noted a couple of times in the 20th century and Chinese astronomers in 687 B.C. recorded Lyrid meteors falling like rain overhead," Hammergren stated.
Meteors can become visible in any part of the night sky with the majority flowing out from the constellation Lyra. The meteors will glow from the sky area where the shining star Vega is located.
Since star Vega is rising above the northeastern horizon in the early hours of the evening, viewers located in the Northern Hemisphere must be able to witness the meteor shower all night long. According to the Space.com report, the moon can mess up the meteor shower viewing because of its gibbous phase that will light up 85% of the night sky.
Here are a couple of tips on how to best view the 2013 Lyrids Meteor Shower despite the disturbance of a bright moon:
1. "Patience is a virtue." The eyes can take approximately 40 minutes before it adjusts to the darkness of the night so do not be upset if the meteors are not visible at once.
2. Move away from the bright city lights and go to the countryside in order to increase the chances of witnessing the spectacle.
3. Do not gaze directly at Lyra though it may be the best shot at locating the meteors. NASA claims the meteor shower will only look like average dots with short tails in the sky.