HomeTop StoriesOne of the oldest known meteor showers is currently visible near Tri-Cities....

One of the oldest known meteor showers is currently visible near Tri-Cities. What to know

It’s been almost two weeks since the solar eclipse gave Americans some kind of celestial event, but don’t stop looking at the sky just yet: There’s another event coming.

Fortunately, this celestial event does not require glasses and is visible for several days: the Lyrid meteor shower.

What’s more, although this month’s solar eclipse was only a partial eclipse in the Evergreen State, Washingtonians will be able to see the Lyrid Islands in their full glory.

Here’s what you need to know about the Lyrid meteor shower and when to catch it.

What is the Lyrid meteor shower?

The Lyrid meteor shower is one of the oldest known meteor showers, according to NASA. The Chinese first observed it in 687 BC, meaning people have known about it for about 2,700 years.

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The meteors in this shower are known to be fast and bright, with generally about 10 to 20 visible meteors per hour.

They come from Comet Thatcher, a comet that orbits the sun every 415.5 years, according to NASA. Every year, Earth passes through the debris trail left by Comet Thatcher, releasing bits of debris into our atmosphere and appearing as bright flashes in the sky.

The radiation from the shower – where the meteors in the night sky appear to come from – is located near the constellation Lyra, which is why the shower’s name is derived from it. Lyra is a smaller constellation, but can be easily found by looking for the star Vega, the fifth brightest star in our sky and the second brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere.

The easiest way to find Vega is to look directly overhead and locate the brightest star closest to the zenith, the spot directly above you, according to EarthSky. Vega will rise above the horizon around 9:45 PM, and then you can see the meteor shower, but the chances of seeing a meteor will increase in the morning hours.

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NASA recommends looking for meteors a little further from the zenith. This is because meteors observed around the zenith have a short lifespan, while meteors further away tend to last longer and look more spectacular.

When are the Lyrids visible?

The Lyrid meteor shower will be visible from April 15 to April 29, according to NASA, meaning they began streaking across the sky in the early hours of Monday morning. It lasts until next week and runs until Monday April 29th.

The best time to spot the Lyrids is shortly before midnight and into the early morning hours. Although the meteor shower usually produces only 10 to 20 meteors per hour, some years have been particularly active and stargazers were treated to up to 100 meteors per hour at its peak.

The meteor shower will peak in the early hours of April 23. Unfortunately, that also coincides with a nearly full moon, with about 96% of the moon illuminated, according to Time and Date. This means more light pollution and a smaller chance of seeing meteors.

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Where can you watch the meteors near Tri-Cities?

The Light Pollution Map website shows where exactly you can escape light pollution, but here are some other options near Tri-Cities:

  • On top of the Badger or Candy Mountains

  • Jump off Joe Butte, just south of Tri-Cities

  • Around Top of the World Park in Richland

The next chance to see a major meteor shower in Tri-Cities is the Perseids from July 14 to September 1, peaking from August 11 to 12.

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