Lyrid meteor shower
The annual Lyrid meteor shower officially started up Thursday and will remain active for about 10 days, with the peak viewing night coming late Tuesday into Wednesday morning. It can be seen starting at 10 p.m., but this shower’s perfect for early risers, as the hour or two before dawn is probably the best time to spot the “shooting stars.”
The Lyrids are bits of rock and dust left behind by the comet C/1861 G (Thatcher). Each year around this time, the Earth drifts through a cloud of debris from an earlier visit by the comet — its most recent trip through the inner solar system was in 1861 — and those particles collide with our upper atmosphere at a speed of about 27 miles (43 kilometers) per second.
The 2012 Lyrid meteor shower as captured by astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station.