Exploring San Diego


Earth Day wonder: Where to watch the Lyrids meteor shower in San Diego

Look up: Annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks this weekend
Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 21:12:28-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The first major meteor shower in months is set to peak on Earth Day, experts say.

Poetic, isn't it?

The Lyrids meteor shower is expected to cast about 20 meteors across the night sky every hour at its peak, from Monday, April 22, night into early Tuesday, April 23. Cloudy conditions may interfere with some viewers during this time, according to AccuWeather.

Good visibility is also forecasted for San Diego from dusk Sunday into dawn Monday.

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For the most part, AccuWeather says conditions in the southwest U.S. should, "provide stargazers with nearly ideal weather."

If anything, it's actually the moon that may ruin the show for some. Because of a nearly full moon, natural light pollution may make seeing dimmer meteors difficult, according to AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel.

“Do not look at the moon. Do anything to avoid looking at the moon and focus on a different part of the sky,” Samuhel said.

The annual shower is attributed to comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, according to AccuWeather, with records of the shower going back about 2,700 years. While outbursts of the shower have reached up to 100 meteors per hour, Samuhel said that's not likely this year.

Interested in viewing the celestial show? Try out these San Diego County locales for the best viewing experience:

Jess Martin Park (Julian): Head up to Julian this weekend to catch the meteor shower and also Julian's Natural Wonderfest.

Blair Valley Campground (Anza-Borrego): There's really no bad spot in Anza-Borrego for stargazing. Its distance from San Diego makes it prime for some great viewing.

Palomar Observatory: Palomar Mountain is the site of an observatory, so there's no wonder why the area is great for catching the stars.

Laguna Campground: Mount Laguna has long been an area for camping and an escape from the city for San Diegans. While the Mount Laguna Observatory has the power to look deep into the galaxy, you'll have to bring your own gear at the campground to view the dark skies.

Torrey Pines State Reserve: Torrey Pines State Reserve can provide some surprising star gazing despite being as close to highways as it is. The glider port has been a spot for those who don't want to make the hours-long trek east.

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve: Poway's Blue Sky park is a great spot close to the county and away from too many bright lights for star gazing.

Fleet Science Center (Balboa Park): Yes, Balboa Park is close to the city lights, but with some telescopic power, you can still catch some great sights like planets and bright stars.

Mt. Helix Park: Mount Helix is another good option for those not wanting to drive too far away.

Otay Lakes County Park: Otay Lakes park is another close option where local star gazers have had success staring into the night sky.

Soledad Mountain: Another option close to home. Set your gaze or telescope in the right direction and Soledad Mountain is a great spot to star gaze.

San Elijo Park: Head up to North County and catch some star-gazing at San Elijo Park. Assuming the park lights are turned down, you'll be able to catch some of the celestial sights.