By Dave Warren

MIAMI (CBSMiami)– The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks Thursday night so look up South Florida. It’s known as the meteor shower that breaks the “meteor drought” from January to Mid-April and this year it will peak on the morning of Earth Day, April 22nd.

High clouds and a bright moon may interfere with viewing the meteors. (CBSMiami)

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As with every meteor shower the best place and time to view the show is a dark area after midnight. Unfortunately, the moon will be interfering with the shower this year. About three-quarters of the moon is lit by the sun Thursday night and will rise just after midnight. In addition to the moonlight, there are high clouds overhead moving from west to east.

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Evey meteor shower has a radiant point. This is where, if you trace the path of the meteors backwards, they seem to appear from. With the Lyrids they seem to radiate from the constellation Lyra the Harp which contains the bring star Vega. This constellation will rise each night just after nine o’clock and rise high in the sky. After midnight it will look like it’s almost overhead. It’s from Vega’s constellation Lyra that the Lyrid meteor shower gets its name.

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The reason for this meteor shower is from Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). Every year in late April our planet crosses this comet’s orbital path. The next time the comet will visit our Solar System is 2276. Tiny pieces shed by this comet in its orbit will be bombarding our upper atmosphere this week at around 110,000 miles per hour. Look to Lyra, the leading edge of our atmosphere that will encounter this debris, resulting in the Lyrid Meteor Shower.

Dave Warren