By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming residents have the opportunity to see the Lyrid meteor shower at its peak Thursday morning, but they have to be up before dawn.
The annual meteor shower usually occurs from around April 14 to April 30, usually peaking around April 22.
Max Gilbraith, University of Wyoming planetarium coordinator, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that Wyomingites could definitely see some of the shower if they start looking to the skies around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, but it will peak early Thursday morning.
“The only problem is that the moon will be out and it’s almost full,” he said. “You want to go somewhere without light pollution and you can get clear skies to best see the shower.”
There will still be an opportunity to see the meteor shower on Thursday night, though, if people aren’t looking to wake up before the sun rises.
Gilbraith didn’t recommend using a telescope or binoculars to see the shower, though.
“You want to see a large part of the sky when watching a meteor shower and you just can’t do that with a telescope or binoculars,” he said. “The meteors go too fast for you to try and watch them in one particular spot.”
The Lyrid meteors come from the comet Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. It’s not expected to return to the Earth’s orbit until 2283.
“This is a fun shower, but it is variable, so the rate of meteors falling in one hour can range from zero to 90,” Gilbraith said. “I just hope people can get out, have some clear skies, look to the northeast and see some meteors.”