Where And When You Can Witness the Lyrids Meteor Shower

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Get ready for an fantastic show in the night sky, because the Lyrids meteor show is coming to town for a limited time. You can best witness the Lyrids in the early hours of Sunday morning as long as there are not clouds obscuring your view, with the hours before the dawn being the very best time.

For the rest of April, you'll have a good chance of seeing some shooting stars as the Lyrid meteor shower comes through this year.

Viewers can expect to catch about 10 to 20 Lyrid meteors an hour - if they're watching under a clear, dark sky.

The Lyrid meteor shower is of medium brightness, but not as luminous as the famous Perseid meteor shower in August, which tends to produce more prominent trails, Cooke said.

In mid-April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris from the comet, causing the meteor shower.

For the best views, avoid the cities and head to an area with low light pollution. And more than just the amount of meteors, the Lyrids produce spectacular ones that are bright and fast.

The radiant - the point from which the meteors appear to originate - will be high in the evening sky in the constellation Lyra to the northeast of Vega, one of the brightest stars visible in the night sky this time of year. It's a typical program, producing about 20 meteors an hour at its peak, however an nearly moon will be bothersome. These trains can be observable for several seconds. In fact, meteors can appear all over the sky so it's best to have as wide a field of view as possible. Those few hours before dawn are the flawless time to find a great spot away from the busy city lights, lie back in the crisp morning air and enjoy the stunning display on the dark, moonless sky. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair.

So, grab a warm blanket to shield you from the cool morning air and head out to a secluded place outside the city, lie down on the grass or on the hood of your auto with your feet pointing east and look up. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the celestial show should go outside just before dawn Sunday to catch the most activity. Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky. Comet Thatcher was discovered on 5 April 1861 by A. E. Thatcher.

These can appear everywhere in the sky, but you can easily determine whether one is part of the Lyrids swarm by tracing its path backward to its "radiant"; if it appears to come from the general direction of the constellation Lyra - not far from the bright star Vega in the northeastern sky at dawn - it's nearly certainly part of the Lyrids swarm. Last time Comet Thatcher came close to the sun was in 1861 and it is expected to return nearly 260 years from now, in 2276. The Boorong clan of north-west Victoria-who no longer exist as a separate group-named the bright star Vega after the Boorong "Neilloan" constellation depicting the Mallee fowl.

Though the 2018 Lyrid meteor shower will not be featuring an outburst of such incredible proportions, next week's event will be spectacular nonetheless. The Lyrid meteor shower will go on for nearly the rest of the month, lasting until April 25.

Nevertheless, you can still gauge the best time to watch the Lyrid meteor shower on your sky by knowing the rising time of the radiant point. The constellation is not the source of the meteors.