The annual meteor shower that’s best seen “under very dark, very clear skies,” according to the Adler Planetarium, will leave a visible, glowing dust trail on the Chicago skyline on Saturday.
And as long as the sky over Chicago isn’t too cloudy, you’ll be able to see it – from some places better than others.
One of the oldest known meteor showers according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the annual spring shower of Lyrids is expected to be visible on April 23 in the Chicago area, peaking at around 10 to 20 meteors per hour.
The downpour also streaked the sky early Friday, but cloud cover made visibility difficult.
Will Chicago skies be clear enough for you to see the Lyrid meteor shower on Saturday?
According to timeanddate.com, a website that documents and predicts how to watch celestial events around the world, visibility will be “excellent” on Saturday night.
That’s partly because there’s a good chance the sky will be clear enough to see the shower, said NBC Chicago meteorologist Paul Deanno.
From 9:03 p.m. Friday evening, visibility will be “very good”, then will change to “excellent” around 9:30 p.m.
Visibility should remain “excellent” until Saturday morning, around 3:00 a.m.
Since showers can spread across the sky, binoculars or telescopes are not necessary.
Where is the best place in Chicago to see the Lyrids meteor shower?
The two biggest Planetarium tips are easier said than done: Stay away from city lights and look east.
“This meteor shower will be harder to see here in Chicago, because you have to look east, and many suburbs are west of Chicago, which means you’ll be looking right over the city – and of all its lights – to see the meteors,” Deanno said.
On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible from the United States for the last time until 2045.
So where’s the best place to go to see the shower, without the distraction of city lights?
According to Deanno, it would be along the lake overlooking Lake Michigan itself.
According to the American Meteor Society, meteors are “caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering the Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel paths.”
The company noted that the Lyrids, peaking this week, and the eta Aquariids, peaking May 4-5, showers are among the most noticeable, weather and moonlight conditions permitting.