Lyrids meteor shower to appear under a crescent moon this weekend - here's how to watch

Stargazers are in for a treat this weekend as the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower is scheduled to coincide with a waning crescent moon on Saturday.

The Lyrid meteor shower is an annual, celestial event that occurs in April. The shower typically peaks for one night and both amateur and professional astronomers typically spot as many as 100 shooting stars (the unofficial name for meteors) per hour during the peak.

RELATED: Check out photos of past Lyrid meteor showers

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Lyrid meteor shower
This long-exposure photograph taken on April 23, 2013 on Earth Day shows Lyrids meteors shower passing near the Milky Way in the clear night sky of Thanlyin, nearly 14miles away from Yangon. (Photo credit: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
This long-exposure photograph taken on April 23, 2013 on Earth Day shows Lyrids meteors shower passing near the Milky Way in the clear night sky of Thanlyin, nearly 14miles away from Yangon. (Photo credit: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

Trail from a meteor over rice fields and houses in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan.

(photo credit: Jake Jung via Getty Images)

Lyrids Meteor Shower 2013 Sierra Nevada Mountains California USA

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

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But those shooting stars aren't really stars. This meteor shower is caused by a Comet called Thatcher -- which was last seen from Earth almost two centuries ago.

Those Lyrid meteors are tiny pieces of the comets tail that were shredded during its intergalactic journey, which remain in its old path and light up as the Earth's atmosphere crosses that path each April, causing the dazzling light show.

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The Lyrid meteor shower was named after Lyra -- a small constellation that lies in the northern sky where the shooting stars appear to originate. The shower should be visible from any part of the northern hemisphere, assuming you are away from areas heavily affected by light pollution and are under clear skies.

Anyone living in an especially dark and clear location might already have caught a sneak peek, as the shower technically began on April 16. The shower will last until April 25 -- and the light from the waning crescent moon shouldn't have too much interference with the Lyrid shower's visibility.

But for those looking to catch the best shot, set your alarms ready for April 22 to catch the peak.

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