Sky gazers are in for a special treat this weekeend as the beloved Lyrids meteor shower will reach its peak.
The Lyrids meteor shower has been observed for 2,700 years, making it one of the oldest-known meteor showers on record. The first reported Lyrids sighting dates back to 67 BC in China, according to NASA.
The Lyrids are pieces of debris from the Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. In April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris from the comet, causing the meteor shower.
In 2023, the Lyrids meteor shower, which is active from April 15 through April 29, is expected to peak this weekend, EarthSky says.
The American Meteor Society describes the Lyrids meteor shower as a "medium strength shower." While the Lyrids bring fast and bright meteors, they're not as plentiful as showers like the August Perseids, NASA notes.
"Lyrids don’t tend to leave long, glowing dust trains behind them as they streak through the Earth's atmosphere, but they can produce the occasional bright flash called a fireball," NASA adds.
Here's what you need to know.
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When is the Lyrids meteor shower and its 2023 peak?
The Lyrids, which will be active through April 29, will peak April 22 and April 23, NASA says.
In the U.S., the best time to view the Lyrids' 2023 peak will be around 9 p.m. ET on April 22, according to predictions from the American Meteor Society.
In a handful of extraordinary years, the Lyrids have surprised stargazers with up to 100 meteors an hour, NASA notes. But, for most years, viewers can typically expect 10 to 20 meteors during the peak.
"The normal Lyrid display, seen under moonless conditions, usually offers a peak of around 10 meteors per hour in addition to the normal random meteor rate of about 5 per hour," the American Meteor Society writes.
Where to see the Lyrids meteor shower
While people can see the Lyrids around the globe, this meteor shower is most easily viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during dark hours.
The Lyrids' radiant point, or the place in the sky where meteors appear to emerge from, is "far to the north on the sky’s dome," EarthSky notes. That makes it harder to see the shower in the Southern Hemisphere – but it's still possible to see a few meteors.
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According to NASA, the Lyrids' radiant point is near the constellation Lyra – and the meteors appear to radiate from the area around Lyra's brightest star, Vega. However, the Lyrids can appear anywhere in the sky.
"It is actually better to view the Lyrids away from their radiant: They will appear longer and more spectacular from this perspective," NASA adds.
How to watch the Lyrids meteor shower
Viewing conditions for meteor showers depend on a variety of factors – including weather, light pollution, the moon's brightness and more.
To best view a meteor shower like the Lyrids, go outside during dark hours of the night – between moonset and before dawn. You'll want to find a spot far away from city and street lights.
For the Lyrids, NASA recommends viewers "lie flat on your back with your feet facing east." Try to take in as much as the night sky as possible, and be patient.
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Luckily, the new moon just occurred April 20 – just before the Lyrids' peak this year, according to Space.com. That means "there will be no moon in the sky during the peak mornings for 2023’s Lyrid meteor shower," according to EarthSky.
Contributing: Doyle Rice and Mike Snider, USA TODAY.