TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Lyrid meteor shower peaks late Thursday night into early Friday morning and the skies will be clear for us to view them in Tampa Bay.
The biggest challenge will be getting away from light pollution – or the light generated by streetlamps, signs, homes, etc. More rural locations like Dade City, San Antonio and Sebring would be optimal for darker skies.
The Lyrid meteor shower always peaks during late April and, according to NASA, is one of the oldest-known meteor showers with the first recorded sighting dating back to 687 BC by the Chinese.
This meteor shower is known for fast and bright meteors, but the number of meteors per hour are nowhere near the Perseids in August. We expect between 10 to 20 meteors per hour during peak times.
To best enjoy the meteor shower, the darker the skies the better. Bring a blanket or towel and lie flat on the ground in an area with a wide view of the sky. It will take a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the dark, but the longer you stay there, the better you will be able to see them.
One factor that is less than ideal for us this year is the moon phase. The light that the moon provides interferes with your ability to see the meteors, and on Thursday night into Friday morning, the moon phase is 87%. The moon does set at 4:47 a.m. Friday, so after that – but well before dawn – would be the best time to view the meteor shower.
One factor working in our favor for enjoying the show is the clear skies. Thursday night into Friday morning we expect less than 10% sky cover – meaning very few, if any, clouds. We owe dry air moving into our area behind a cold front for the clear skies and the slightly cooler temperatures. You may need sleeves to see the show also, as our temperatures will sink down into the low 60s overnight on Thursday night.