Look to the skies tonight and what you'll see streaking across the skies are not (), or a plane jetting into, but meteors.
You may even see a larger fireball, because it is a New Moon and will be especially dark Satrday night.
The Lyrids is the seasonal time for spotting shooting stars, but the dark skies will be "ideal for meteor watching from the ground," NASA says.
Find a dark space, and the show will begin just after the sun goes down on the Pacific Coast, around 8 p.m.
You can weigh in with what you see on a national scale, by going to this page a few minutes before 8 p.m. PDT on Saturday night. The chat module will appear at the bottom of this page. After you log in, wait for the chat module to be activated, then ask your questions.
A panel of meteor experts Dr. Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the Lyrids via the live Web chat and there will be a chance to share photographs.
They say the best times will be just before dawn, but the spectacle will be visible all night and viewable all over the world. The Lyrids are very unpredictable, with peak meteor rates between 10 to 100 per hour.
This year it may be possible to see approximately 40 to 50 meteors per hour, or more, and at least 15 larger ones, the scientists say.
, who runs the MUFON group that meets monthly in Studio City, said that many times, people mistake the comets for UFOs, but also noted that there are many more questionable and unexplainable cosmic sightings during this time because, "very simply, more people are looking into the skies than they usually do, and they just happen to see things that are hard to explain."
Murrillo notes that observers in the Valley have been very good , and in the skies, and his group investigates them.
Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine, tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon the best views are from the darkest places says:
"For every bright [meteor] you see, there will be many more faint ones, and to see the faint ones, you need a dark sky," he says.
The relatively feeble light of a new moon will help hopeful meteor-watchers across the continent.
According to a Chinese chronicle, in 687 B.C. Lyrid meteors "dropped down like rain," Sky and Telescope reports.
For this year, the experts suggest that if you have to choose just one night in April to go out and look at the stars, tonight is the night.
Go to NASA http://science.nasa.gov for more information.
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