Lyrid meteor shower to peak on Earth Day

Police vehicles seen on the Champs-Elysees near the Arc de Tiomphe

Jane Houston Jones from Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory said: "It peaks this month in the morning hours of April 22".

The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is this weekend and, with some dark skies, it'll be a good one.

The best viewing should occur between between 2 a.m. and dawn Saturday.

The Lyrid meteor shower is actually pieces of the comet Thatcher.

Earth is now passing through the trail of dust left behind by an ancient comet, and it's creating the flawless night of stargazing for those in the Northern Hemisphere. The moon will be entering its New Moon phase during the peak Lyrid dates.

Every April, as the weather warms, the Lyrids meteor shower comes around promising the chance to see a wave of shooting stars.

While the Lyrid meteor shower has at times produced as many as 90 meteors per hour, this year skywatchers can expect to see about 18-20 per hour during its peak. This glow is what we call a meteor, and the bigger the meteoroid, the greater the force it exerts, and thus the brighter the meteor glows. The meteor shower's peak of activity lasts only a few hours, and it's predicted to start this year at 8 a.m. EDT on April 22 (12:00 GMT). But where should you look, when is the best time to look, and what's the deal with this meteor shower?

It's recommended that you step outside and look up at the sky 20 minutes before the shower is due to take place.

Get out of the city so that artificial lights do not impede your viewing.

If you're not in the Northern Hemisphere, or the weather is miserable where you are, you can also check out live coverage of the event over at Slooh (membership required).

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