You will be able to see around 20 meteors per hour!
It’s been a bit since we’ve been treated to any celestial spectacles in the skies above NYC but that drought will soon be coming to an end. Later this week the oldest recorded meteor show will grace the skies above NYC – and this year it coincides with Earth Day!
Taking place annually from April 15-29, the famed Lyrid Meteor Shower reaches its peak nearly every year around April 22nd and 23rd. Dust particles and cosmic debris shed by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher cause illuminated trails in the night sky. Though discovered in 1861, the “Lyrid fireballs” have been mentioned in reports dating back to 687 B.C., making it the oldest recorded meteor shower.
According to EarthSky.org, the Lyrids are significant for breaking the “meteor drought” that occurs each year from January to April. This year the site reports that the predicted peak is 4 am UTC (midnight EDT) with anywhere between 10 to 20 meteors visible per hour.
As there is a bright waning moon on Friday and therefore less moon interference on Saturday, Saturday morning could also be a prime time to spot the meteors. The best time to catch the meteor shower will be in the early hours after midnight once the sun has set and before moonrise. Time and Date tell us that NYC’s sunset will be at 7:42 pm on Friday and 7:43 pm on Saturday, while moonrise will be at 1:48 am on Friday and 2:39 am on Saturday.
So, between those hours, try to get somewhere with low light pollution (we know that’s a little tricky in NYC) and bring a jacket, coffee, and whatever else you might need. Check out this light pollution map to find a dark sky near you!