The 2016 Lyrids meteor shower is expected to put on a humble show. However, the Lyrids have been known to surprise on rare occasions, having outbursts of up to 60 meteors an hour. This year, a Full Moon is slated to create negative circumstances for those observing the annual meteor shower, but if you’ve been craving a celestial event since the Quadrantids in January, you may be pleased after viewing just a few meteors in the night sky.
For the best viewing experience, find an area unobstructed by structures and that is far away from city lights. Using binoculars or telescopes is not recommended; you’ll be more likely to miss a shooting star whizzing by. Once you have settled down at your observation spot, face toward the northeastern portion of the sky. Meteors will appear to originate from a point (the radiant) in the sky within close proximity to the constellation Lyra. Similarly, this is where the Lyrids get their names.
On average, and under clear skies, observers should see 5 to 15 meteors per hour; but rarely these rates can exceed up to 20 meteors per hour in rural locations. During ideal conditions, the Lyrids meteor shower should be a pleasant viewing experience. In 2016, the best dates to observe the Lyrids will be the morning of April 22nd and April 23rd, just before dawn.
Those viewing in the southern hemisphere will see less Lyrid activity than those residing in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, the radiant will be located low in the northern sky, while in the northern hemisphere the radiant will appear to be overhead. Best of luck to everyone staying out to watch the event. We hope you have a fantastic viewing experience!