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Lyrid meteor shower nears peak; viewing opportunities in the Maritimes

FILE - The Lyrid meteor shower is seen over Burg on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn off Germany, Friday, April 20, 2018. The Lyrids occur every year in mid-to-late April.  (Daniel Reinhardt/dpa via AP, File) FILE - The Lyrid meteor shower is seen over Burg on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn off Germany, Friday, April 20, 2018. The Lyrids occur every year in mid-to-late April. (Daniel Reinhardt/dpa via AP, File)
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Lyrid meteor shower

The annual Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak Sunday night into Monday morning. It is a modest meteor shower that at peak can produce up to 18 meteors per hour. The radiant point for the shower is near the constellation Lyra, which the bright star Vega is a part of. The constellation currently rises over the northeast through the evening and then is positioned high over the eastern horizon overnight.

It is typically easier to spot meteors when the radiant point is higher in the night sky. That means the time for best viewing is midnight through the pre-dawn hours. The usual night sky viewing tips apply. Get away from city lights, give time for your eyes to adjust to the dark and dress for the weather.

One factor working against ideal viewing this year is the moon. The moon is expected to be nearly 90 per cent illuminated through the weekend, making it very bright in the night sky.

Things to spot in the night sky Sunday night.

Best nights to view

Cloud cover will be increasing from the west Friday night, meaning viewing will likely become obstructed in New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia. More favourable viewing conditions are expected in eastern Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Clouds increase from the west Friday night for the Maritimes.

Saturday night is a write off for most of the Maritimes. Cloudy conditions are expected with areas of rain and showers. The exception may be the northern-most and western-most areas of New Brunswick, which could see some clearing of the cloud overnight.

Most cloudy conditions are expected with rain or showers Saturday night. It will then clear overnight for northern and western areas of New Brunswick.

A large part of the Maritimes should have ideal viewing conditions Sunday overnight into Monday morning -- that is the expected peak of the shower. Exceptions look to be the Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia and parts of northern New Brunswick where some cloudier conditions could be present.

A few clouds are expected, but decent night sky viewing should be possible Sunday night. Cloudier conditions are possible for northern New Brunswick and Atlantic coastal Nova Scotia.

If you see the Lyrids, or capture one in a photo, I’d love to see and hear about it. Send me a report at kalin.mitchell@bellmedia.ca

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