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Lyrid meteor shower: Weather to allow many in Europe to view this weekend’s peak

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 23, 2018, 8:59:40 AM EDT

Clear skies will allow many across Europe to view the peak of the annual Lyrid meteor shower on Saturday night.

Coinciding with Earth Day, 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.

If you are unable to view the event due to the weather or other plans, Sunday night will also bring 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.

Meteor Shower Earth Orbit

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

The good news for many people across Europe is that a large area of high pressure will provide good viewing conditions over much of the continent.

This includes from Italy to the southern Baltic states and the Balkan Peninsula. Locations such as Milan, Bucharest and Warsaw can all expect few to no viewing obstructions.

Southern and eastern Germany also lie in the heart of the best viewing conditions as dry weather prevails.

While a few high clouds may stream overhead, much of the sky will remain clear throughout the night, providing ideal conditions for viewing the meteors.

After a mild Friday night, temperatures will be returned to a more seasonable low of 8 C (46 F) in Berlin on Saturday night. Mild air will keep overnight lows to 10-13 C (50-55 F) in Munich and Saarbrücken.

"Clouds will attempt to block the meteor shower at times across northwestern Germany," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. "It is not out of the question that a shower or thunderstorm streaks in from the west later at night."

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The biggest problems with cloud cover will be across the Iberian Peninsula and the British Isles, where mostly cloudy skies and occasional rainfall are expected.

The wettest conditions across the Iberian Peninsula will be in Portugal and western Spain.

The clouds and unsettled weather will also graze northern France, as well as Belgium and the Netherlands.

"The cloudy conditions may attempt to break just enough for skygazers to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower in London and the rest of South East England later on Saturday night," according to Pydynowski.

"However, drier weather and less cloud cover will make for much better viewing conditions across the British Isles on Friday night," she said.

The Iberian Peninsula will not be as lucky, with Friday night's weather expected to be similar to Saturday night.

"The storm delivering the rain in the Iberian Peninsula is expected to push away by Sunday night," Pydynowski said.

"The southwestern corner of the peninsula may welcome partial clearing to view the meteor shower, while many areas in Europe that enjoyed clear skies on Saturday night will see more in the way of cloud cover."

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