Lyrids Meteor Shower 2013: Where and When to Watch In Westlake

The shooting stars of Comet Thatcher's tail will be visible all week but will peak before dawn on Sunday and Monday

The offspring of the Comet Thatcher are about to put on a show across the skies of Westlake.

But you will have to know when and where to look to get the best show.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower began on Monday. However, it won't peak until Sunday and this upcoming Monday.

The meteor shower is formed when Comet Thatcher's tail crosses through Earth's path, Accuweather.com explains.

More specifically, the meteors are bits of the tail's comet -- usually no bigger than grains of sand -- that hit the Earth's atmosphere at 49 kilometers a second. Then they disintegrate as streaks of light, leaving behind smoke-like trail of debris and sometimes casting a shadow.

The Lyrids are so named because they appear to come from Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra.

The Lyrids average 10 to 20 meteors per hour, which makes it a weaker shower, according to Roger Sinnott of skyandtelescope.com.

However, AccuWeather's Mark Paquette said there is potential for significantly more.

"It is unpredictable. Sometimes lyrids have 'surges' which can break up the rate to near 100 per hour," Paquette said. "Lyrid meteors are typically as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, which is to say, middling brightness, but some are more intense, even brighter than Venus."

Unfortunately, a nearly full moon will make it more difficult to see the Lyrids than in previous years, according to The Huffington Post.

Consequently, amateur astronomers are encouraged to look for shooting stars when the moon will be less of an issue -- early Monday morning (April 22) after the moon has set but before the dawn.

The best places to watch, not surprisingly, are open, dark skies. Your best bets will be close to the lake and any long, flat stretches without light pollution or tree cover (like, for example, a soccer field.)

As always, the farther you can get away from city lights, the better of a show you'll get. Also, remember to check the weather forecast and conditions before you head outside to watch.


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