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Lyrid Meteor Shower Peak: Who Will See It?

Sky gazers are on alert for the peak of the Lyrid Meteor Shower.

The Lyrids, which began on April 16 and continue through April 25, will reach their peak between midnight and dawn on Tuesday.

Viewers can expect to see about 10-20 meteors per hour with the highest concentration lasting from 3 to 6 a.m. EDT. Those planning on viewing the Lyrids will want to look to the northeast.

"Most meteor showers are pretty much on clockwork in terms of timing," said Meteorologist Mark Paquette. "What can change from time-to-time is how many there are, the strength."

Meteor showers can often times be unpredictable and end up producing a greater concentration of meteors per hour. In 1982, American observers saw up to 100 meteors per hour according to

In this instance, the Lyrids are caused by pieces of debris from the tail of the Comet Thatcher, which is currently on a 415-year orbit around the sun.

If for some reason Earth went through a particularly dense area where there's more debris or more small rocks compared to another year, it could lead to an increase in the amount of meteors.

"That's very difficult to predict though," Paquette said.

The immediate Eastern Seaboard should have ideal viewing conditions to start off the evening, especially for those residing in suburban areas.

As the night goes on, however, clouds across the Ohio Valley will push into portions of the area such as New York and Pennsylvania along with portions of the mid-Atlantic.

High pressure is really in control across parts of the Southeast, which is why there will be good viewing conditions for portions of the Carolinas, Georgia and Northern Florida, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Erik Pindrock.

Midwestern, states such as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois, will see clouds leaving the area in time to view the meteors.

However, moving east towards the Ohio Valley, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, may not have optimal viewing weather.

Pindrock said, an area of low pressure originating from western Ontario, will bring a cold front from the Great Lakes through the Mississippi Valley.

"Along that boundary is where the clouds are," Pindrock said. "Hence, that would obscure any chance to try to see any of the meteors."

In the Northwestern part of the country, a disturbance off the Pacific Ocean is pushing clouds into the region. Much of northern California, northern Nevada, Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho will not have the most favorable conditions.

Another possible obstacle to seeing the meteors clearly is the waning moon.

A last-quarter moon will rise in the middle of the night and that's not necessarily a good thing because the meteors may be drowned out somewhat by the moon's brightness, according to Paquette.

The star Vega will also be visible in the northeast sky. Vega is part of the Lyra constellation, where the Lyrids get their name.

The Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers, with records indicating they could date back as far as 2,700 years, according to EarthSky.