CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The entire northern hemisphere, including West Virginia, should be able to see this Lyrid meteor shower this year if the sky is clear, but there’s only a few-day window.
According to the American Meteor Society, the Lyrids are a medium-strength shower than can produce fireballs, and this year’s will be even more visible because it happens right after the new moon, meaning the sky will be almost completely dark.
According to EarthSky, the shower begins on April 15, but peak visibility lasts from late evening—about 10:30 p.m.—to dawn on April 21 to 22 and April 22 to 23. If you want to get the best view of the Lyrids, the peak is around 1:06 a.m. local time in the northern hemisphere on Sunday, April 23, when viewers can expect to see up to 18 meteors per hour in a clear, dark sky. EarthSky says that about a quarter of Lyrid meteors leave a persistent train that will glow for a few seconds after the meteor has passed.
Although it’s hard to know what the weather will look like this far out, if you’re interested in getting the best view of the shower, take advantage of one of West Virginia’s Dark Sky zones, which are Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County, Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park in Pocahontas County, Calhoun County Park, Camp Virgil Tate in Kanawha County and Green Bank in Pocahontas County.
Regardless of where you plan to view, it’s best to turn off the lights and not look at your phone for 30 minutes before viewing to give your eyes time to adjust to the dark.
Up to 12 hours before viewing time, you can also check out the StormTracker 12 Predictor to see if there will be rain or cloud coverage in your area.