You'll want to look beyond our planet this Earth Day. The Lyrid meteor shower will peak in the early hours of Sunday, April 22, lighting up the sky with 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour. Added bonus: The sky will be purely dark for prime meteor viewing in the hours before dawn because the moon will set at midnight between Saturday and Sunday. The peak of the shower, which is forecast this year to have an average number of meteors, according to The Washington Post, will be at about 2 a.m. E.T.
The Lyrid meteor shower, which gets its name from its location near the Lyra constellation, is actually one of the world's oldest was first recorded by the Chinese more than 2,600 years ago, National Geographic reports. This year, weather conditions to view the Lyrids are clear for much of the continental U.S. Parts of the northeast as well as southwestern states like Arizona and California will have the best views, with clear skies. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi likely will miss the celestial show because of cloud cover, according to Accuweather.
For the best viewing experience, you'll want to travel far from light sources, like cities. It's easiest to spot meteors with the naked eye; no need to use binoculars or telescopes. Lying on the ground and looking up will give you the widest view of the shower. You can use one of countless apps—like Google Sky—to find the Lyra constellation, which should be almost directly overhead. Many of the meteors should appear to start their fiery path near the bright star of Vega, in Lyra. Once you find it, put your phone away: that glowing screen can mess with your natural night vision.
If you miss out on the Lyrids on Saturday or Sunday, your next chance to see a meteor shower is just a few weeks away. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak on the night of May 6 when our planet passes through debris from Halley’s Comet.