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This Meteor Shower Hasn’t Been Seen Since 1861 and It’s Happening This Week

Some years, the Lyrid meteor shower intensifies and can produce up to 100 meteors per hour in what’s called an “outburst,” but it is difficult to predict exactly when that will happen. The average Lyrid shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour, and this year skywatchers can expect to see about 18 per hour, depending on how clear and dark your sky is, Cooke said. Though not as fast or as plentiful as the famous Perseids in August, Lyrids can surprise watchers with as many as 100 meteors seen per hour. The April Lyrids are a meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 25 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, near its brightest star, Vega.

Lyrid meteor shower

Too much light pollution will stymie even a pro’s attempt at observing a meteor shower as the glowing space dust is too dim to compete with the bright lights of urban Canada. Targazers will be treated to up to 18 meteors an hour when the Lyrid meteor shower lights up the sky on Saturday morning. This year, the shower should be visible from April 15, picking up steam from April 19 and reaching its peak next week on April 22 and 23. Typically, the best time to watch the Lyrids is between midnight and dawn.

Meteor Showers Viewing Tips

For optimal viewing, astronomers recommend traveling to dark areas away from cities, towns or other forms of manmade light. Most meteors are so small that they burn up well before they hit the ground. However a handful will get through, with the remnant left on the ground called a meteorite. The position of the radiant of this shower, and its predicted hourly rate, were taken from International Meteor Organisation’sList of Meteor Showers.

Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game. The higher Vega appears in your sky, the more meteors you’re likely to see. Astronomers first noticed this comet in 1861, around the time of its last perihelion, or closest point to the sun.

  • When they hit the atmosphere, they compress the air in their path, turning that air into a white-hot glowing plasma.
  • Be sure to check your your local forecast, though, as even a few hours of reasonably clear skies will be enough to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower.
  • The fireballs in the meteor shower are created by debris from comet Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun.
  • There seems to be a seven year periodicity with these fireballs.

Shooting stars are seen whenever one of these pieces of debris collides with the Earth’s atmosphere, typically burning up at an altitude of around 70 to 100 km. The shower will peak close to new moon, and so moonlight will present minimal interference. Lyrid meteors come in fast — though not as fast as the Leonids, which peak in November, Cooke said. “The Lyrids are more like hitting the left front fender.”

Lyrids meteor shower

Sometimes they will shine with other colours, usually based on the composition of the atmosphere they’re flying through or specific minerals vapourizing off the meteoroid itself. The bright streaks we see during the Lyrids are known as meteors. The Lyrids return, bringing streaks of light to spring skies. If you can, look towards Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra.

After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse. Under ideal conditions, with no moonlight, observers can see up to 10 to 15 shooting stars per hour. But the Lyrids are also prone to unpredictable surges that can result in up to 100 visible meteors per hour. Lyrids shower will reach its peak of activity, producing as many as 18 meteors per hour under good viewing conditions and a dark sky.

Perseid Meteor Shower 2022

That’s why they happen around the same time every year and appear to originate from specific points in the sky. As they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, the meteors leave bright streaks in the sky commonly referred to as “shooting stars.” The Lyrids are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the dark hours .



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