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Lyrid Meteors Peak This Weekend Above Washington / Oregon Coast: 10 - 20 per Hour

Published 04/21/23 at 7:02 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Lyrid Meteors Peak This Weekend Above Washington / Oregon Coast: 10 - 20 per Hour

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Spring weather may be a bit wonky these days, gas prices are a major pain in the butt and various parts of the economy add some uncertainties to travel, but one thing is for sure: the stars are really aligned above the Oregon coast and Washington coast this weekend. (Photo NASA)

Shooting stars, that is. The Lyrid meteor shower peaks Saturday and Sunday night (April 22 and 23) above the Earth, which will be celebrating Earth Day, interestingly enough.

According to astronomy expert Jim Todd with Portland's OMSI, we as a planet are wandering through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), which creates the little shooting stars of the Lyrids.

“These meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails. About 10-20 meteors per hour at peak can be expected,” Todd said. “The radiant for this shower is in the constellation Lyra, which rises in the northeast at about 10 p.m.”

The American Meteor Society says the moon will be a 9% waning crescent, which will help visibility.

You may still be able to see these shooting stars later in the Pacific Northwest skies – including the Washington coast and Oregon coast – as the Lyrids last until April 29.

Todd said they're named after the constellation Lyra, and they are one of the oldest meteor showers recorded by humans, appearing in Chinese texts over 2,500 years ago.

“The fireballs in the meteor shower are created by debris from comet Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun,” Todd told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “The comet is expected to be visible from Earth again in 2276.”

Check out the wild fireball seen just recently by Oregon Coast Beach Connection Spectacular Green Fireball Lights Up Oregon Valley Through Washington Coast)

Lyra the Harp is the constellation that is associated with this.. Todd said if you see a meteor / shooting star, you'll likely be able to trace its path backward to find it has come from the direction of the constellation.

“Meteors often don’t become visible until they are 30 degrees or so from their radiant point,” Todd said. “The meteors will appear in any and all parts of the sky after Lyra ascends over the horizon in the late evening.”

Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

Weather, of course, will be the biggest deciding factor. Currently the forecasts for most of the Oregon coast and Washington coast show mostly cloudy skies and lots of rain for Saturday and Sunday night. "Mostly" does mean there is a chance skies will open periodically. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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