The moon will cooperate this weekend as the annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks. The big question is this: Will the clouds over Beaufort County cooperate, too?
The Lyrid meteor shower actually started on Monday and runs through April 25, but the best chance to see shooting stars will happen in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 22, according to the Skymania website.
Depending on your location, skywatchers could see 15-20 meteors per hour, said the International Meteor Organization.
That group recommends waiting until the moon sets (just before 2 a.m. Sunday on Hilton Head Island) to have the darkest sky and greatest chance of seeing the fainter meteors.
"Don’t expect to see something as soon as you start looking! Meteor watching requires plenty of patience, particularly with a medium-strength shower such as the Lyrids," wrote Paul Sutherland on Skymania.
Accuweather said this weekend's shower will radiate from east-northeast near the Lyra constellation, which is how the shower earned its name. But meteors should be visible across the sky.
Vega, the brightest star in the constellation, will rise over the horizon in the northeast around 9 to 10 p.m. in the northern hemisphere, according to EarthSky. By the early morning hours, the constellation will be high overhead.
Beaufort County's forecast is partly cloudy with a low in the mid-50s for Saturday night and shifting to mostly cloudy on Sunday, said the National Weather Service in Charleston. This could be problematic for skywatching, depending on the cloud cover in the early morning hours.
Friday night's forecast is clear, so those determined to see a Lyrid meteor may want to consider looking skyward in the hours of early Saturday morning instead.
The Lyrid meteor shower is one of the oldest known, with sightings dating back to 687 B.C., reported Business Insider. The shower happens when the earth crosses through debris from the comet Thatcher.
Accuweather says those watching the sky in the late night hours should be able to see Mars and Saturn in the southeast, and Mercury will be just above the eastern horizon before daybreak.