The Lyrid meteor shower is one of the most anticipated meteor showers of the year! It is an annual event that takes place in late April, and it can be seen across the world. If you are interested in stargazing or astronomy, this is a must-see event to add to your calendar.
What is the Lyrid Meteor Shower?
The Lyrid meteor shower is caused by debris from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. The comet is named after A.E Thatcher who originally found it in 1861. The comet takes about 415 years to complete its orbit around the sun, and as it moves, it leaves behind a trail of debris. When the Earth passes through this trail, the debris enters the Earth’s atmosphere and burns up. Therefore causing what we see as shooting stars in the night sky.
The Lyrid meteor shower is named after the constellation Lyra, This is because the meteors appear to originate from this constellation. The shower for this year is active from April 15th to the 23rd. It’s peak activity will occur on April 22nd and is the best time to view the meteor shower. During this time, you can see up to 20 meteors per hour.
How to Observe the Lyrid Meteor Shower
The Lyrid meteor shower is visible to the naked eye, so you don’t need any special equipment to observe it. Although, here are some tips to make the most of your viewing experience:
- You should find a dark location away from city lights. Light pollution can make it difficult to see the meteors. Therefore you will need to be away from street lights, buildings, and other sources of light pollution. The best option is to go to the countryside, getting back to nature.
- Always check the weather! You’ll have the best chance of seeing the meteor shower if the sky is clear. Check the weather forecast before you go to make sure it’s not foggy or cloudy. But it will also help you plan what you need to take with you to keep warm if necessary.
- Be patient! The Lyrid meteor shower is not as intense as other meteor showers. You may need to wait a while to see a shooting star, but the shower is known for it’s fast and bright meteors. Bring a comfortable chair or blanket to sit on, and be prepared to spend some time outside.
- Look towards the constellation Lyra. Whilst the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, they should originate from the constellation Lyra. Try to find this constellation in the sky as a key starting point for the meteor shower.
- Use a star map if you’re not familiar with the night sky, bring a star map to help you find the constellation Lyra and other stars and constellations.
- The optimal time to watch the meteor shower will be during its peak in the late evening of April 22nd and early hours on April 23rd. You’ll start to see meteors around 10:30 p.m. and the best viewing time will take place just after midnight.
The Lyrid meteor shower is a beautiful and exciting annual event to observe. It is a great opportunity if you wish to learn more about astronomy and stargazing. It is visible to the naked eye but with these tips, a little preparation and patience. You can make a viewing experience to remember! Mark your calendar for April 15th – 23rd, especially for April 22nd and make plans to observe the Lyrid meteor shower!