• The Lyrids mark the end of the months-long meteor shower drought
  • Experts recommend observing the Lyrids "at every opportunity" in case of an outburst
  • Skywatchers may also look out for the Lyrids in the evening after the peak

Skywatchers are in for a treat because the Lyrid meteor shower is set to have its peak this week.

The Lyrids have been active since April 15, but their peak will be happening on the evening of April 21 to 22, according to the American Meteor Society (AMS). Although the Lyrids are considered to be a "medium strength" meteor shower, they are known to produce bright meteors and even fireballs. Skywatchers may want to watch for those. The appearance of the Lyrids also ends the months-long meteor shower drought, so the peak makes for an excellent reason to go out and observe the skies.

Under a moonless sky, skywatchers may see a humble 10 to 15 meteors per hour, EarthSky noted. However, the Lyrids are also known for "uncommon surges" that may even produce up to a hundred meteors per hour. Although the next such surge is expected to be in the early 2040s, the AMS noted that there have also been "unverified" reports of smaller outbursts.

"(W)e suggest that potential observers observe the Lyrids at every opportunity just in case something unusual occurs," the AMS said.

On the evening of the peak, the moon will be 67% full, so there will still be a little disruption to skywatching because of its bright light. As such, skywatchers may also try viewing it in the evening after the peak since there will be less of the waning moon. They can also watch it under the shadow of a tree or a barn if observing it under the moonlight.

As the AMS noted, the Lyrid meteors can be seen "in all parts of the sky" so there's no need to look directly at its radiant, which is close to the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra. However, facing the general direction of the radiant may help skywatchers determine if what they are looking at is a Lyrid meteor or not.

As always, it's best to view meteor showers at a place that's far from city lights. Although there's no need to bring any special equipment as meteor showers can be observed with bare eyes, it's important to have patience because the eyes need time to adjust to the darkness of the sky. Bringing a blanket or a pillow may also help make the viewing more comfortable as it's ideal to give oneself a lot of time to truly enjoy the view.

Lyrid Meteor Shower
The Lyrids peak. Reuters