The shooting stars of the Lyrids meteor shower are visible between April 16th and April 25th. This shower peaks on Hawaii at 01:40 HST (Hawaii Standard Time) on April 22nd. The best time to watch this shower is on April 22nd very early in the morning between the moonset (03:45) and the beginning of twilight (05:00).
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Where and when can you see the Lyrids from Hawaii?
The lyrids are not a very active meteor shower. Expect to see between 5 and 20 shooting stars / hour during the peak of this shower.
The shooting stars of this shower seem to originate from the constellation “Lyra”, which rises in the eastern sky just before midnight (see sky map below). Unfortunately in 2013, the (waxing, gibbous) moon makes “convenient” stargazing somewhat difficult during the first parts of the night. The best time to see the Lyrids is a couple of hours before daybreak after the moon has set, in the early morning of April 22nd between ± 03:45 and 05:00 am.
Fun Facts about the Lyrids meteor shower
The shooting stars of the Lyrids are small parts of space-debris left behind by the comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). They are (arguably) the first documented meteor shower with reports going back possibly up to 2600 years (687 BC, two years after King Sennacherib of Assyria sacked Babylon).
most years you can see between 10 and 20 shooting stars/hour at peak intensity, but there have been years where a true meteor shower took place, and peak rates of 90/hour were reported. The last time this happened was in 1982, but there is also a very interesting report from a newspaper in Richmond, Virginia on April 23rd, 1803. This newspaper described the shower as
…Shooting stars. This electrical phenomenon was observed on Wednesday morning last at Richmond and its vicinity, in a manner that alarmed many, and astonished every person that beheld it.
From one until three in the morning, those starry meteors seemed to fall from every point in the heavens, in such numbers as to resemble a shower of sky rockets…
These outburst are quite rare, but you never know what to expect with the Lyrids. Only last year during the Lyrids meteor shower buildings in Nevada and California were shaken by a sonic boom caused by Sutters Mill Meteorite (sized between a dish washer and a mini van before exploding).
Meteor shower viewing tips
As for almost all stargazing: darker is better. Try to find a dark spot away from (city) light pollution, and avoid the moon (lunar calendar for Hawaii). The best time to see shooting stars is in the hours after midnight.
Patience is a virtue, especially during a meteor shower like the Lyrids. Peak rates of this shower are not that high and it is possible that you have to search the skies for a long time before seeing a shooting star.
For more detailed meteor shower watching tips you should have a look at our meteor shower guide to Hawaii for viewing tips and a packing list for a perfect night of stargazing.
Where will you watch the Lyrids meteor shower?
Do you know of a good place with little or no light pollution in your area to view meteor showers? Is there a confirmed meet-up? We would love it if you drop the address in the comments section below. Have fun stargazing!