The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Clouds to dampen Lyrid meteor shower views in Western Washington

Forecasters expect a storm will obstruct peak viewing Sunday. Locals’ best chance at viewing could be on the coast. Or east.

EVERETT — One of the oldest known meteor showers promises a dazzling sky show this weekend.

Unless you live in Western Washington.

Humans have observed the Lyrid meteor showers for more than 2,000 years. Usually, late April is the best time to see these comet and asteroid pieces, as they create an occasional bright flash in the night sky.

During the showers’ peak over the next few days, stargazers can expect to see 10 to 20 meteors per hour, flashing by at 29 miles per second.

The weather, though, could dampen any local viewing plans. Forecasters predict rain for much of Western Washington, beginning Saturday night and lasting through most of Sunday.

By late Sunday evening or early Monday morning, the rainstorm system is expected to clear out.

The moon is also nearly full, so its light may make it more difficult to see the meteors, too.

For the best shot at a view, locals could head to the Pacific coastline or the rain shadow roughly between Port Angeles and Anacortes. The Olympic Peninsula may be an effective observation point, since fewer people live there and contribute less light pollution, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dustin Guy. You could also venture east of the Cascades, where skies are expected to be much less cloudy.

On this side of the mountains, the stormy weather will likely clear along the coast first, creating pockets of visibility as the clouds pass by.

Before the storm hits, Guy recommends instead looking at the meteors Thursday or Friday night.

For optimal viewing, NASA suggests lying on your back with your feet facing east. After 30 minutes, your eyes should adjust.

According to NASA, the meteors’ radiant, or the point in the sky from which Lyrids appear to come, is “near the constellation Lyra, the harp. Lyrids appear to radiate from the area near the star Vega, the brightest star in this constellation. (Helpful Hint: Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is easy to spot in even light-polluted areas.) The constellation of Lyra is also where we get the name for the shower: Lyrids.”

Ta’Leah Van Sistine: 425-339-3460; taleah.vansistine@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @TaLeahRoseV.

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