How to watch the Lyrid meteor shower in Waterloo region

The annual Lyrid meteor shower is expected to reach its peak Friday overnight and should be visible to the naked eye.

Astonomer Gary Boyle said the best time to see it is from 11 pm to about 3 am

“That’s when the radiant, or where the meteor seems to come from, is the highest in the sky,” Boyle explained.

Boyle predicts this celestial event will produce up to 20 meteors per hour moving at around 45 kilometers per second.

“It’s really the friction of a grain of sand slicing through our atmosphere. And that’s what you see, is this tube of light about 80 or 90 km up in the upper atmosphere,” said Boyle.

Astronomers suggest stargazers go to rural areas for best viewing.

A flat, dark area without any trees, buildings or other obstructions is preferable, said Boyle.

The owner of the KW Telescope in Kitchener is also an astronomer. He said there are plenty of good places to camp out to view the shower.

“By Conestoga Lake there is an observing area I believe is still open… and it’s basically a parking lot that doesn’t get used,” said astronomer Brian Dernesch.

He said you don’t need fancy equipment to see meteor showers.

Another visually pleasing yet rare sight will take place around 5 am early Saturday morning.

The moon, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn are set to align and can be seen by looking up in the south eastern sky, Boyle said.

He explained these planets are much brighter than the average stars because they are part of our solar system – unlike stars which are light years away.

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