Lyrid Meteor Shower To Light Up April Night Sky

Lyrid Meteor Shower To Light Up April Night Sky

Lyrid Meteor Shower To Light Up April Night Sky

All meteor showers happen when the Earth crosses the path of a comet and hit the path of comet particles, making their event foreseeable. When Earth passes through it, the meteors create a stunning shower. You can best witness the Lyrids in the early hours of Sunday morning as long as there are not clouds obscuring your view, with the hours before the dawn being the very best time.

If the sky is clear and you're far from the blinding lights of a city, stargazers can expect to see as many as 20 meteors each hour. The Lyrids meteor shower will peak on the said dates and is expected to churn out 15 to 20 meteors per hour. Will that be this year? The shower will intensify and produce more meteors as Vega climbs higher in the sky, so be mindful of the star's rising time. The shower will commence on April 16 through April 25, however, it will peak between April 22 and April 23.

Though the 2018 Lyrid meteor shower will not be featuring an outburst of such incredible proportions, next week's event will be spectacular nonetheless. That's called the radiant by astronomers. To look for it, point towards the East towards the Lyra constellation at dusk while it will be visiting at halfway up the eastern sky by moon-set where it will be visible.

The Summer Triangle is made of the three bright stars Deneb in Cygnus (the Swan), Altair in Aquila (the Eagle), and Vega in Lyra (the Lyre, or harp). Look east and you can't miss it. The meteors are traditionally intense, and this need to be an excellent year for skywatchers since a thin crescent moon ought to produce dark skies. Both can be hard to find at this time of year depending on where you live. Picking a dark sky site is doubly important for Lyrid meteors because they tend to be rather faint, but anywhere out of town with low horizons will work well.

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What causes the Lyrid shooting stars?

These occur when the Earth encounters swarms of interplanetary dust particles, and we can see dozens falling every hour. Occasionally one will glow extra bright, and that's called a fireball.

According to its origin, Lyrid meteors are believed to be leftovers debris that escaped the comet G1 Thatcher that was first observed on April 5, 1861, over NY by astronomer A.E. Thatcher who named it as "G1 Thatcher". It will return in 2276.

Adding to next weekend's excitement, stargazers will be delighted to know that the Lyrids are not the only meteor shower that will be going on in April. That begins on April 19 and last until May 28, peaking on the night of May 5 and into May 6.

Weather permitting, the best time to view the shooting stars is after nightfall and before dawn. The meteor shower is named after the Lyra constellation and is expected to start on Monday, April 16, lasting for about 10 days, so you should have plenty of chances to see it.

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