Where And When You Can Witness the Lyrids Meteor Shower

Mindy Sparks
April 16, 2018

Starting in the middle of the month, the Lyrids is the oldest meteor shower that impacts Earth, according to Travel and Leisure.

The meteor shower Watching is the indirect term of waiting and calmness so get settled and hold tight until the first one shows out. Usually, the fall out counts up to 10 to 20 meteor per hour but sometime the count may exceed more than 100 per hour that is virtually known as an outburst. 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.

The oldest ever known Lyrid Outburst was documented back in 687 BC. The shower will commence on April 16 through April 25, however, it will peak between April 22 and April 23. And more than just the amount of meteors, the Lyrids produce spectacular ones that are bright and fast.

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.

Adding to next weekend's excitement, stargazers will be delighted to know that the Lyrids are not the only meteor shower that will be going on in April. Sightings of these heavier showers occurred in 1803 (Virginia), 1922 (Greece), 1945 (Japan), and 1982 (U.S.). These trains can be observable for several seconds.

Brian Emfinger
Lyrid meteors are small chunks of rock that broke off of Comet Thatcher

Those living in the Northern Hemisphere get the best view of this meteor shower. Find an area well away from city or street lights.

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 vehicle 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.

Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. 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. 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.

The Lyrids can be seen from Earth each time our planet crosses the comet's ancient path and encounters the cosmic debris that Comet Thatcher left behind long ago. But it was only in 1867 when astronomer Gottfried Galle proposed a link between Lyrids meteors and comet G1 Thatcher and later went on to prove it as well. To look for it, point towards the East towards the Lyra constellation at dusk while it will be visiting at halfway up the eastern sky by moon-set where it will be visible. Lyrids appear to particularly radiate out from the star Vega-Vega is the brightest star within this constellation. But you'll have multiple chances to see it before then, as the shower starts as early as tomorrow evening on April 16, 2018, and lasts until April 25, 2018. The waxing moon should set before the meteors appear, making for ideal viewing - though meteor showers are notoriously fickle. The constellation is not the source of the meteors.

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