GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 22, 2014) — Cloud cover forced West Michigan to miss the peak of the annual Lyrid meteor shower Monday night, but clear skies may allow for some viewing opportunities still Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
The Lyrids are an annual event that occur from mid- to late-April. While meteors may be spotted at any point during that time, there is usually a night when the highest rate of meteor sightings can be expected. This year, that fell on Monday night.
Unfortunately for West Michigan, lingering cloudiness prevented us from doing much stargazing during that time. However, several meteors will likely be seen again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
According to EarthSky.org, the best viewing can be done by looking for the constellation Lyra in the northeastern sky if you’re out during the late evening hours (see picture above). Just to the right of the star near the top (the very bright star Vega), you’ll find what is called the radiant of the meteor shower. That refers to the distant point that appears to be the source of the meteors, which then streak in all directions across the sky from there.
Meteor rates are expected to be around 10 to 20 per hour, or one meteor every three to six minutes. That’s much lower than many of the year’s more famous shower events, and could make for some long and chilly skywatching as temperatures drop to around freezing in West Michigan Tuesday night.
You can check out the full forecast on the Weather page.