Lyrids meteor shower expected to peak on April 23

ByTara De Boer, writer, CNNWire
Monday, April 24, 2023
How to watch the Lyrids meteor shower starting tonight
The Lyrids meteor shower starts Saturday night and is expected to peak between midnight and dawn on April 23, according to NASA.

CHICAGO -- It's an eventful month up in space this April, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is sharing how to best witness the sights in the sky.

Over the course of April, there will be noteworthy movements visible in the sky, such as the planet Mercury rising to its highest point for the year, Moon and mars meeting up, and the Lyrid meteor shower.

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Back on the evening of April 11, the planet Mercury was at its most visible and highest point in the sky. This was special as Mercury is only visible in the sky for a few weeks about three to four times a year, and as it orbits so close to the sun it is often not visible due to the bright glare.

Starting on April 15 and 16, you can look low in the southeastern sky a few hours before sunrise to see three bright planets in the sky near the moon.

Come the 23rd of the month, the slim crescent moon will hang five degrees above the planet Venus in the west following sunset.

Two days later, Mars and the moon are close together high up in the west when the darkness settles in the sky and the moon moves towards the planet.

NASA suggests pulling out the binoculars on the 26th and 27th of April, when a half moon will be visible. NASA says those who look up will be able to see craters and mountains along the terminator, which is the line between light and dark.

As for the meteor shower this spring, it's called Lyrids, it's of medium-strength and can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak - which will be around April 23.

Meteor showers are visible to the naked eye, so no binoculars or telescope are needed to see the natural wonder.

You also may see an occasional fireball during the shower. Lyrids tend to produce both fast-moving meteors and bright flashes, NASA says. Here's a schedule, for what to look for in the sky this month:

April 11 - Mercury was at its highest and most visible point in the evening sky.

April 11 - According to NASA, Venus sat near the Pleiades star cluster this evening in the west.

April 15-16 - A couple hours before sunrise on these days, the moon will be close to planet Saturn in the east.

April 23 - The crescent moon hangs just five degrees above Venus in the west after sunset, according to NASA.

April 25 - This time, the moon finds its way to planet Mars in the evening, high in the west.

April 6 - The sky will see a full moon.

April 20 - There will be a new moon.

April 23 - Marker of the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower in the morning. According to NASA, the best time to view is between midnight and dawn.

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