Meteor activity picks up a bit during April as the Lyrids become active during the month. They are active from the 18th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd. Sporadic rates during April are steady as seen from both hemispheres with southern observers enjoying twice the activity that can be seen from the mid-northern hemisphere.
During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Sunday March 23rd. At this time the moon will lie 90 degrees west of the sun and will rise near midnight local daylight time for sites located at mid-northern latitudes. While only half illuminated, the moon will still be a nuisance during the more active morning hours. It would help to face the opposite direction from the moon to see the most activity this weekend. As the week progresses the waning crescent moon will become less of a problem with each passing night as it rises approximately 45 minutes later each night.
During this period the moon reaches its first quarter phase on Saturday March 8th. At this time the moon will lie 90 degrees east of the sun and will set between midnight and 0100 local standard time for sites located at mid-northern latitudes. This will allow the more active morning hours to be free of interfering moonlight this weekend. Next week though, the moon will become more of a problem as it sets approximately 45 minutes with each passing night. Toward the end of the week the nearly full moon will be in the sky most of the night making meteor observing difficult.
As seen from the northern hemisphere, March is the slowest month for meteor activity. No major annual showers are active and only a few very weak minor showers produce activity this month. The sporadic rates are also near their annual minimum so there is not much to look forward to this month except for the evening fireballs that seem to peak this time of year from the northern hemisphere. This could be due to the fact the Antapex radiant lies highest above the horizon this time of year during the evening hours. From the southern hemisphere, activity from the Centaurid complex begins to wane with only the weak activity visible from Norma and perhaps others areas nearby.
During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Saturday February 22nd. At this time the moon will lie 90 degrees west of the sun and will rise near midnight LST (Local Standard Time) as seen from mid-northern latitudes. The one-half illuminated moon will interfere with meteor observing, but not as badly as with a full moon in the sky. The glare of the moon can be avoided if your view in a portion of the sky away from the moon. The moon will continue to wane this week and will rise approximately 45 minutes later with each passing night. Therefore observing conditions towards the end of this period will be more favorable than those this weekend.
During this period the moon begins at its full phase then wanes down to nearly one-half illuminated by Friday February 21st. This will be the worst period of the month to try an view meteor activity as the moon will lie above the horizon during the entire morning hours, when meteor activity is normally the strongest. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 2 for observers situated at mid-northern latitudes and 3 for observers viewing from the southern tropics (latitude 25 S.). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 5 for observers situated at mid-northern latitudes and 10 for observers viewing from the southern tropics.