Tonight the Lyrid meteor shower peaks, and you may want to know how to view the Lyrids. Many parts of the U.S. may not have optimal viewing conditions tonight, but the good news is that you can watch the Lyrids on live stream video, according to an April 21 Space.com report.
The Lyrid meteor shower is caused by the Comet Thatcher debris trail. Earth passes through the remains of this comet, and the effect is plenty of "shooting stars" to see in the night sky where viewing conditions are optimal. This year, the Lyrids will produce about 20 meteors each hour before dawn on Tuesday, April 22. However, if it is cloudy where you live, you can catch the Lyrid meteor shower via live stream video courtesy of the Slooh community telescope in the video embedded above or courtesy of NASA.
If you are headed outside to view the Lyrids, the best time for viewing these "shooting stars" is from just after midnight to just before dawn early Tuesday morning. The meteors will appear to originate in the star Vega in the constellation Lyra, the Harp. Unfortunately, the light of the moon could wash out some of the meteors, which could make for some frustrated viewing.
Although tonight's meteor shower is not one of the year's best, it still has a long-standing history of being viewed from Earth. For almost 2,600 years people have looked up and seen the Earth passing through the debris of the Comet Thatcher. Chinese Astronomers first wrote about the celestial event well over two centuries ago.
If you do not get the chance to head outside to watch the Lyrid meteor shower tonight, you can check out the live stream on the Slooh community telescope channel or the NASA channel as long as there are clear skies where these live streams will be taking place. If, for some reason, there are clouds, these two live stream options for the Lyrids might be a wash as well.