The Lyrids Meteor Shower, the first meteor shower of spring is set to light up Chicago's skies Friday and Saturday.
The annual meteor shower, is best viewed "under very dark, very clear skies," a blog on the Adler Planetarium site reads. And as long as the skies over Chicago aren't too cloudy, The Lyrids, known for their fast and bright meteors, will leave a visible, glowing dust train as they streak.
One of the oldest known meteor showers according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the annual springtime Lyrids shower is expected to be visible April 22 and April 23 in the Chicago area, with a peak of around 10 to 20 meteors per hour.
"This year the Lyrids are forecast to peak during the daylight hours of April 22; so the best times to watch for Lyrid meteors this year are most likely during the early-morning darkness on April 22, and again during the early-morning darkness of April 23," the planetarium says.
Experts said the best time to gaze at the iconic shower will be in the early morning darkness Friday or Saturday.
Will the Chicago Sky be Clear Enough For You to See the Lyrid Meteor Shower?
According to timeanddate.com, a website that documents and predicts how to watch celestial events across the world, the visibility will be "good" overnight on Friday and "excellent" overnight on Saturday.
That's partly because there's a much better chance for clear skies on Saturday, NBC Chicago meteorologist Paul Deanno says, although neither night will be 'ideal' for viewing the meteor shower.
Beginning around 9:03 p.m. Friday night, visibility will be "very good," and then shift to "excellent" around 9:30 p.m. Visibility is expected to remain "excellent" until early Saturday, around 3:00 a.m.
Where's Best Place in Chicago to See the Lyrids Meteor Shower?
"This meteor shower will be tougher to see here in Chicago, because you have to look east, and many suburbs are west of Chicago, meaning you’ll be looking right over the city – and all of its lights – to view the meteors," Deanno says.
The planetarium echoes this sentiment, suggesting that viewers stray away from city lights and face east while looking up.
Since showers can stretch across the sky, binoculars or telescopes are not needed.
So what's the best place to go to see the shower, without the distraction of the city lights?
According to Deanno, it would be along the lakefront looking over Lake Michigan itself
According to the American Meteor Society, the meteors are "caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories."
The society noted that both the Lyrids, peaking this week, and the eta Aquariids, peaking May 4-5, showers are some of the most visible, should the time and moonlight conditions allow.