CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Lyrid meteor showers return once again to the skies over Earth and over our area in particular this week, reaching their maximum anticipated count Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
The Lyrid meteors return over Earth during April each year and they are a part of the debris from Comet Thatcher. They radiate or appear to come out of the constellation known as Lyra.
According to NASA the first known record of the Lyrid meteor showers was in China some 2700 years ago.
In general the meteor count is about 10-20 meteors appearing in the sky with a maximum chance of seeing them at about 2:00 a.m. Wednesday. There is no particular direction they always come from, the best advice is to simply get as far away from city lights as possible and let your eyes adjust to the dark.
You can see meteors from this same meteor shower a few days either side of this peak time but the rate will be slower. 10 – 20 meteors per hour sounds like a lot but is actually fairly slow especially to younger star gazers who may be more in-tune with the speed of video games.
Below is a composite photo provided by NASA of several Lyrid meteors as they came over a NASA camera in April of 2012. They do not look like this all at once. This is a collage of all of the individual meteors captured by the cameras.
The Stormtracker 13 forecast calls for skies to clear after rain during the first half of Tuesday. Skies should be mostly clear but the temperature will be turning very cold with 40s and 30s once we move past midnight for the 2020 version of the Lyrid peak. Take the big coats if you’re going to sit outside your house to look for them.
Where Do Meteors Come From?
Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. When comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them. Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.