The Lyrid Meteor Shower will reach its peak in the early hours of Monday morning. One can expect to see a couple of meteors if you are patient and willing to commit a half hour to looking up.
There are about a dozen meteor showers each year and the Lyrid is a favorite. The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Lyra, hence its name. Lyra rises in the east at about 10 p.m., but meteors can occur at any time.
The best viewing is around 2 a.m. The Lyrid meteor shower is not as reliable as some other showers. You may see just a few or as many as 90 in an hour.
The meteors are pieces of space debris, little pieces no bigger than a dime coming into the earth’s atmosphere at great speed. As they enter the Earth’s atmosphere they burn up.
The Lyrid meteors are associated with Comet Thatcher. Each year at this time, the Earth passes through the ancient orbit of the comet. Though the comet is far away, there is still a trail of debris that follows in its path.
The best meteor viewing involves a little preparation. Find a place where you can have a nice view of the sky, preferably a view looking northeast to east. Get a nice comfortable chair. Dress warmly. Put some hot cider in a mug and enjoy the show.
Full Moon and Saturn
On Thursday night the brilliant full moon appears right next to the ringed-planet Saturn. The two rise in the eastern sky at about the same time as the sun sets in the west.
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Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 52º F.