WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The Lyrid meteor shower, which occur every year in April, has begun.

But with a nearly full moon in the sky as the activity peaks Sunday into Monday, the meteor streaks might be tough to see clearly.

The Lyrids occur every year in mid-to-late April. This year’s peak activity happens Sunday into Monday, with 10 to 20 meteors expected per hour. Viewing lasts through April 29.

Most meteor showers originate from the debris of comets. The source of the Lyrids is the comet Thatcher.

When rocks from space enter Earth’s atmosphere, the resistance from the air makes them very hot. This causes the air to glow around them and briefly leaves a fiery tail behind them — the end of a “shooting star.”

The glowing pockets of air around fast-moving space rocks, ranging from the size of a dust particle to a boulder, may be visible in the night sky.

Meteor showers are usually most visible between midnight and predawn hours, and don’t require special equipment.

It’s easier to see shooting stars under dark skies, away from city lights. Meteor showers also appear brightest on cloudless nights when the moon wanes smallest.

“Look to the northeast and just keep staring at the same spot in the sky” to see the Lyrids, said University of Warwick astronomer Don Pollacco. “It’s always impressive when you see these things.”

The next meteor shower, Eta Aquarids meteor shower, will peak in early May with best viewing in the Southern Hemisphere. That shower is caused by debris from Halley’s comet.

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