Another big science-y space moment is upon us. No, it’s not a total (or even partial) solar eclipse, and you won’t need special glasses to view this phenomenon. We’re talking about one of our galaxy’s oldest known meteor showers: The Lyrid meteor shower, which appears in the sky annually to give us some pretty spectacular stargazing opportunities.
The shower has been happening since April 16th, but is expected to peak tonight, Saturday, April 21st, with as many as 20 meteors streaking through the sky every hour. You’ll have several more opportunities to see a Lyrid meteor before the event comes to an end April 25th. But tonight is definitely the best time to give it a shot.
To get the best views, you’ll have to escape the city for less-congested pastures. It’s also best to wait until after midnight to prevent excess light pollution from obstructing your field of vision, according to Uproxx. You want it to be as dark as possible when you lie on your back and prepare to stargaze. NASA also recommends lying on your back with your feet pointing East. Meanwhile, give your eyes 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness before you start seeing meteors.
If you’re combining your 420 and Earth Day celebrations, or you just want some food for thought while you gaze upon the endlessness of the universe, here’s some fun history about the Lyrid meteor shower.
The Lyrid meteors are actually debris coming off of the comet Thatcher.
The Lyrid meteor shower has been happening at least since 687 BC, and possibly even before that.
That means you’re looking at much the same view as people have around this time in the Northern Hemisphere for centuries. As True Detective‘s Rust Cohle might put it: “Time is a flat circle, we’re all repeating the past, etc.” Trippy, huh?
Will you be watching the Lyrid meteor shower tonight?