Simma Sky: Lyrid Meteor Shower

Lyrids light up the late April night sky

Simma Sky: Lyrid Meteor Shower

Image Courtesy: NASA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Lyrid meteors make their annual appearance at the end of April. Shooting stars can be seen from April 19-25, with activity peaking the morning of April 23. Just head outside and look northeast:

Image courtesy

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Lyra - the Harp - is the constellation closest to the Lyrids. Hence the name. Vega is the brighest star and easiest to spot. To the naked eye, it appears that the Lyrids radiate outward near Vega. While the meteors are buring in the atmosphere some 60 miles above your head, Vega lies a mere 25 light years away. Hashtag HUGE difference.

There's just one problem...the Pink Moon.

No, it's not colored pink. That's just the name given to April's full moon, which occurs on April 19. By April 23 - the peak of the Lyrids - 82% of the moon is visible as a Waning Gibbous. Light from the near-full moon will wash out some of the meteors. But it's Spring - get outside and enjoy the "warmer" mornings!

EarthSky writes that the Lyrid meteor shower is one of the oldest known meteor showers - that ancient Chinese wrote of the Lyrids in 687 B.C.: "falling like rain." Wouldn't that be incredible.