Asia: Storm to spoil peak of Lyrid meteor shower in China; Saudi Arabia, Japan to enjoy best viewing conditions

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 21, 2018, 4:05:43 AM EDT

Skygazers will be treated to the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower across Asia on Saturday night but only where the weather cooperates.

Coinciding with Earth Day on April 22, the event will feature roughly 20 meteors per hour during its peak.

“This event is the most significant meteor shower since January,” said AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel.

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If you are unable to view the event due to the weather or other plans, Sunday night will offer a high number of meteors per hour.

Viewing this weekend's meteor shower will be easy for stargazers of all ages and will not require the use of binoculars or a telescope.

“The shower will be best viewed after midnight, when the radiant is highest in the sky. “ Samuhel said.

To maximize the number of meteors able to be seen, onlookers should head to a dark area where light pollution is minimal.

“The moon will set around midnight on the peak night, making viewing conditions much better during the overnight hours,” Samuhel said.

Once the moon sets, the darker skies will make it easier to spot some of the fainter meteors.

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Of course, the weather will also play a key factor in viewing the meteors, as clouds can partially or fully obscure the night sky.

A large storm moving across China will produce plenty of clouds across much of the country, which will also stream into some neighboring countries.

The best viewing conditions are expected across most of Japan, Southeast Asia, northern and western Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. These areas can expect little to no cloud cover.

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"Saturday night is expected to be mild for this time of year in Tokyo with temperatures dropping to 15-16 C (near 60 F)," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. "A low closer to 10 C (50 F) is more common in late April."

"It will also be a warm night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for skygazers with a low near 24 C (75 F) expected," she said. Such a low is 6 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal.

Manila and much of northern Luzon Island in the Philippines will also enjoy mostly clear conditions on Saturday night.

Viewing conditions will be worse across South Korea and Japan on Sunday night as the storm from China moves eastward with plenty of clouds. South Korea will also face a risk for flooding downpours.

Another storm will bring poor viewing at times to areas from eastern Turkey into Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan into Sunday night.

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