Lyrid meteor shower: What time will it peak and what to expect | Science | News


Considered one of the strongest showers in the celestial calendar, the Lyrids are usually active between April 16 and 26.

The shooting stars move very quickly with around 20 to 25 per cent leaving “persistent trains”, according to Space.com.

They originate from particle dust shed by Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which has an orbit period of 400 years, with the shower’s radiant located near the constellation of Vega.

When Earth coincides with Thatcher every April, it runs through the dusty debris caused by the comet, resulting in the shower.

The dust specks then hit the Earth’s atmosphere at 109,600 mph and vaporise with friction from the air leaving behind streaks in the sky.

The meteors produce tend to produce this intense burst of sparks lasting for around a day.

What time will the 2018 Lyrids peak? What to expect

The Lyrids usually peak on the night of April 22 moving into the morning of April 23.

But this year’s peak is predicted to take place a full night earlier – that is Saturday, April 21 leading into Sunday, April 22.

The best time to view the display is after nightfall and before dawn, with ample viewing opportunities expected in the Northern Hemisphere.

EarthSky said skywatchers will better their chances the later they watch because Vega will be higher in the sky.

The astronomy website said: “Around the Lyrids’ peak, the star Vega rises above your local horizon – in the northeast – around 9 to 10 pm local time (that’s the time on your clock, from Northern Hemisphere locations).

“It climbs upward through the night. By midnight, Vega is high enough in the sky that meteors radiating from her direction streak across your sky.

“Just before dawn, Vega and the radiant point shine high overhead. That’s one reason the meteors are always more numerous before dawn.”

To maximise your chances, steer clear of city skies and others forms of light pollution.

EarthSky tweeted earlier that should weather conditions remain fine, people may have a chance of catching between “10 to 20 meteors per hour” this weekend.

It tweeted: “Assuming ideal conditions, you might catch 10 to 20 meteors per hour in 2018’s Lyrid meteor shower. The peak is probably Sunday morning, but watch the mornings before and after, too.”

When were the Lyrids first observed?

The Lyrics have been observed for more than 2,600 years.

Official records show reports dating back as far as 687BC, making them one of the oldest known showers known to man.



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