A big, bright, dazzling meteor shower is coming soon, and all you'll need to watch it is eyes! You have those, right? Because you'll need at least one of them if you're curious about how to see the Lyrids meteor shower of 2017. Sure there are meteor showers all the time, but this one is special, I promise.
Not only is the Lyrids meteor shower the oldest reported shower in history, with sights dating back to 687 BC, but it's one of the most entertaining. Often there's a lot of hubbub about upcoming sky events — people get crazy excited about the opportunity to see some out-of-this-world entertainment, and often there's not much to see. We're left on a rooftop, up way past our bedtime time, staring up at a sky that's got too much light pollution to reveal anything behind it. Or, we're looking everywhere for a meteor shower that's seriously underwhelming. You know, the kind of blink-and-you'll-miss-it meteor shower. And very rarely is there anything that happens in the night sky that's even Instagrammable — and if you don't take a picture or Boomerang of it, did it even happen at all?
But the Lyrids are different — especially during their peak. The whole sky event runs from Apr. 16 to Apr. 25, but the main event will occur between the night of Apr. 22 and Apr. 23 — that's the meteor shower's peak. During that special time, you should be able to see between 10 and 20 meteors an hour, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. And who knows, it's also possible you'll see more.
Because this show is so large and so frequent, you won't need any professional equipment to see it. Of course if you have some fancy sky gear, or intense binoculars, feel free to use them. But low-key, you can just look up. If you live in a big city with a lot of light pollution, you're going to want to find an area that's more residential to watch the show from, though.
For example, if you live in New York City, maybe don't try to watch the show from Times Square. And if you live in Nevada, maybe avoid the Las Vegas strip. The darker the environment, the better chance you have of seeing something cool, as we don't have to worry about the moon being too bright, during the peak it will be in a waning crescent phase, which is pretty dim.
So set your alarm or brew yourself some potent matcha and pull an all-nighter. The best time to check out the awesome show is in the darkest part of the night just before it starts to brighten for dawn. Happy stargazing!