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Lyrid meteor shower visible in clear Seattle skies

Startrails are seen during the Lyrids meteor shower over Michaelskapelle on April 21, 2020 in Niederhollabrunn, Austria. (Photo by Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

Besides boosting your Vitamin D levels, clear skies in the greater Seattle area in mid-April mean you can spot the Lyrid meteor shower.

The Lyrids are active starting April 16 – 25, likely peaking around the predawn hours on Thursday, April 22, according to Earthsky. Unfortunately, by then, the clouds and rain will have returned.

Clear skies and warmer nights are near-perfect conditions for us Pacific Northwesterners to grab a camping chair and a blanket, and head to a dark locale. To find the meteor shower, look northeast and find the bright star Varga. It’ll be the brightest star in that direction.

The Lyrids appear to radiate from Varga in the Lyra constellation, hence the name.

According to NASA, “The Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors, though not as fast or as plentiful as the famous Perseids in August, Lyrids can surprise watchers with as many as 100 meteors seen per hour.”

The Lyrids are one of the oldest observed meteor showers, with the first recorded sighting in 687 BC by the Chinese, according to NASA.

For the best viewing, try to find a dark location away from city lights. Or at least do your best. Give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust.

You’ll see the most activity between moonset and dawn — so roughly midnight to 5:30am.

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