Starting yesterday, April 16, folks all around the world will be able to look up to the skies and see the Lyrid meteor shower, and will have the chance of seeing anywhere between a dozen and 100 shooting stars every hour.
Having first been recorded around 2,700 years ago, it’s an annual occurrence that’ll drop the jaws of stargazers across the northern and southern hemispheres. It starts tonight and will last through to April 25, with its peak expected on the evening of April 21 into the early hours of April 22.
“The Lyrid meteor shower – April’s shooting stars – lasts from about April 16 to 25. About 10 to 15 meteors per hour can be expected around the shower’s peak, in a dark sky” (McClure & Byrd, 2020). Go out and see this festival of shooting stars!
The shower comes as a result of Earth passing through the dusty trail of an age-old comet orbiting the Sun, creating the extraordinary display of so-called ‘shooting stars’ (despite having absolutely no connection to stars whatsoever). The particles enter the atmosphere at whopping speeds of 134,000mph.
The meteors are named Lyrids due to their connection with the Lyra the Harp constellation in the North East, where they appear to originate from. Generally it isn’t as luminous as other showers, such as the Perseid shower in August, however Lyrids can sometimes produce fireballs – aka, fantastically bright meteors.
Lyrid meteor shower 2020: When, where & how to see it—> www.space.com
Experts realistically estimate we’ll be able to catch between 10 and 20 meteors soaring across the sky each hour, however Exeter Observatory’s astronomer John Maclean noted ‘The Lyrids have been known to surge but again, it is not something we can predict accurately.’
As this year’s shower is taking place during a New Moon, the sky will be nice and dark – with the added benefit of good weather, you should be able to see plenty of meteors this evening. You don’t need special equipment either: just look up!
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