One of the oldest known meteor showers lights up in the night sky next week. Thatpeaks in the morning on Thursday 22 April and marks a spectacular start to .
The shower follows a month-long meteor drought, where no showers occurred from January to April.
What is Lyrids?
Lyrid meteor showers return each year from around April 16 to 25, as particles are spilled from Comet 1861 G1 Thatcher. There are no photos of the comet because it last passed through the inner solar system in 1861 – and with an orbit of 41
Records of the lyrids date back approximately 2,700 years, making it one of the oldest known meteor showers. According to NASA, the first Lyrid meteor shower was recorded in China in 687 BC.
Lyrid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Lyra Harp, near the bright star Vega, giving the shower its name.
The lyrids have been known to have eruptions of 100 meteors per hour, with stronger showers occurring in Greece in 1922, Japan in 1945 and the United States in 1982. An eruption is not predicted in 2021 – but that does not mean it is impossible.
When the Earth collides with the comet’s orbit, evaporating debris zooms into our atmosphere at about 110,000 miles per hour. The meteors are considered medium-fast.
About 25% of the Lyrid meteor leaves a continuous train – an ionized gas track that lights up for a few seconds after the meteor has already passed. The shooting stars are known for their speed and brightness, although they are not comparable to the brilliant onesin August.
Under normal conditions, the shower offers a top of approx. 10-20 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, the speed is much lower by 1-2 per hour.
When and where to look at the Lyrids
Lyrid’s meteor shower is expected to peak in the early morning hours on Thursday 22 April and continue in the morning on 23 April according to EarthSky. Wherever you are on Earth, the best time to spot meteor showers is between midnight and dawn.
The shower starts when its radiance rises, and is typically best when the radiation is highest in the sky. During the peak of the shower, Vega rises in the northeast around noon. 21 to 22 local time and is highest just before dawn.
But late at night there is also the opportunity to see an earth digger – a slow-moving, long-lasting meteor moving above the horizon.
With this particular shower, there are fewer meteors visible from the southern hemisphere.
If you look directly at the radiation, the shooting stars will be short. To see longer and more spectacular meteors, it is better to look away.
As always, it is best to escape harsh city lights and see meteor showers in an open space. Find an open area, give your eyes 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, and lie flat on your back.
This year, the light from the rising gibbous moon, which is full on April 26, will interfere with visibility.
“On the morning of April 22, the Moon will set about 30 minutes before a sign of dawn begins to appear in the east – at 04:07 and 04:44 EDT respectively – so there will only be a short window without light interference,” he said. NASA.
The lyrids overlap with the eta Aquariid meteor shower, which lasts from April 19 to May 28. However, that shower is stronger in the southern hemisphere.