The Lyrid Meteor shower comes at the end of April, presenting a dazzling display for sky-watchers. Considered as one of the strongest meteor showers, the Lyrids are normally active in the middle of April 16 and April 26.
The shooting stars move very fast with around 20 to 25% leaving “persistent trains.” They instigate from particle dust shed by Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher that has an orbit time of four hundred years, along with radian showers located close to the constellation of Vega.
When Earth coincides with Thatch every month of April, it runs through the dusty debris caused by the comet that results in the shower. Moreover, the dust specks hit the atmosphere of the Earth at 109,600 mph and evaporate with friction from the air leaving behind lines in the sky.
The Lyrid normally peak on the night of April 22 and will move in the morning of April 23. However, this year’s peak is estimated to happen a full night earlier – this weekend, Saturday, April 21. The ideal time to see the display is after nightfall and earlier at dawn, with enough viewing opportunities anticipated in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to EarthSky, watchers will better their probabilities the later they see because Vega will be much higher in the sky. They also added that around the peak of Lyrid, the star Vega rises above the local horizon around 9 to 10 in the evening in the northeast. It will climb upward through the night, and by midnight, Vega is high in the sky, which meteors glowing from its direction streak across the sky. To make the most of your chances, steer clear of the city skies and other types of light pollution.
Just before dawn, the radiant point and Vegan shine high overhead. It is one of the reasons why meteors are at all times more numerous before dawn. EarthSky tweeted earlier that weather conditions should remain fine. Watchers may have a chance of catching between ten to twenty meteors per hour this weekend.
Assuming the ideal condition, one might catch 10 to 20 meteor per hour in the Lyrid meteor shower this year. The peak is perhaps Sunday morning, but people can watch the mornings before and after, as well.
The Lyrids have been witnessed for many years. Official records show studies dating back as far as 687 BC, which makes them one of the ancient showers known to humankind.