LOOK UP: Lyrid meteor shower continues through Wednesday
Get ready for another sky show: the Lyrid meteor shower happens this month.
According to Space.com, the 2018 Lyrids fall between April 16 and April 25, so, weather permitting, WNC skywatchers have a few days left to take in the show.
The best time to view the remaining 2018 Lyrid meteors is overnight on Sunday, April 22--great timing for Earth Day.
Like with most meteor showers, the best time to watch is in the early hours before dawn. But if you're not an early bird, it's OK--there will be Lyrids after dark and before dawn through Wednesday April 25, 2018.
NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com the average Lyrid shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour. In 2018 the Lyrids are expected to provide just about that number, with about 18 of them per hour (one every few minutes), when viewed from a dark location.
If you want to watch, wait for a clear night and a find a place with dark skies, free from streetlights and other light sources. Your own back yard will do in a pinch, but the Asheville Astronomy Club recommends the following observing sites.
Dress for a chilly April night, bring along a blanket or a lounge chair that lets you recline and see the whole sky--and just look up.
The meteors you see streaking the sky during the Lyrids are the remains of Comet Thatcher, a comet that takes 415 years to circle our sun.
When the Earth sweeps past the places where Comet Thatcher has been and left little bits of itself behind in space, some comet particles burn up in the atmosphere--we see Lyrid meteors.
Most meteors are very small, only the size of a grain of sand.