Great night to view Lyrid meteor showerApril 21st, 2012 at 6:41 pm by David Mazza under Weather
Tonight’s weather should provide nearly perfect conditions to view the annual Lyrid meteor shower. The current moon phase is a new moon, meaning that during the nighttime hours the moon will be in the same part of the sky as the sun. This means no moon light cluttering the night sky. Not only that, but we have a very dry airmass in place this evening with the center of a ridge of high pressure centering in over us. This should make the backdrop of the night sky especially dark looking tonight which should enhance meteor showers tonight. The Lyrid shower should peak in the 2nd half of the night tonight into the early morning hours tomorrow. Typically there are 15-20 meteors per hour, but as the folks at NASA have noted, its not uncommon for the Lyrid to produce 100+ per hour as happened back in 1982, and there is really no way to forecast this burst.
The Lyrid meteor shower occurs each April when the Earth passes through the trail of the comet “Thatcher” that follows a 400+ year orbit around the Sun. When we pass through this stream, the little bits of junk that are left in the trail of Thatcher burn up as they collide with the Earth’s atmosphere at more than 100,000 mph!!!
NASA has some live feeds set up for tonight, but again with ideal viewing conditions in our area, your best view might be out your back door.
Here is the link to NASA’s live feeds http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/allsky.html
By the way, while you are out tonight look for a little planet show as well. Mars will be bright in the east sky after sunset tonight, with Venus the bright planet in the west at sunset and shortly after. Saturn will also be visible all night tonight as it is at “opposition” tonight. This means the planet is nearly opposite to the sun in the sky. So when we see the sun setting, Saturn will be rising in the east sky.