The Lyrid meteor shower 2013 peak is over, but with luck you might just be able to catch the end of the show in the skies over Manassas.
As National Geographic reports, the meteor rates officially spiked in the predawn hours of April 22, but you can count on meteors from the shower right through April 25.
The skies have been largely empty of visible meteor showers since the Quadrantids of early January, but the shooting stars of the Lyrids have been a reliable spectacle for 2,600 years or so.
The National Weather Service forecast for Manassas going into Wednesday is for clear skies, so putting on an early pot of coffee might be worth it. The hours just before dawn are usually most active.
The Lyrids tend to be bright and often leave trails and tend to peak at about 10-20 meteors per hour. One of the unpredictable aspects of this shower, though, is that it’s known for uncommon surges that sometimes result in up to 100 shooting stars per hour.
The DC area has some history with the Lyrids. Back in 1803, a journalist in Virginia observed one of those surges and wrote that the outburst, “...alarmed many and astonished every person that beheld it. From 1 in the morning until 3 in the morning, those starry meteors seemed to fall from every point in the heavens, in such numbers to resemble a shower of sky rockets...”
A downside certainly exists this year: The moon will be bright until a couple of hours before dawn. Still, the greatest number of shooting stars tend to come after the moon departs anyway, so the show could still make getting up early worth it.
From where in the area do you sky watch? Tell us in the comments section below.