Meteor showers are in full bloom this week, which happens to coincide with Earth Day—the celebration of our planet’s existence. The Lyrid shower, the first in months, signals the end of a meteor shower dry spell.
Nightfall on April 22 marks the climax of the Lyrid meteor shower, which occurs every two years. As a result, skywatchers won’t have the whole month to catch sight of shooting stars at this shower’s peak.
On Friday, April 22, the Lyrids meteor shower is expected to peak around 4 UTC. This year’s meteor shower will be overshadowed by a strong waning moon, making it harder to see shooting stars. The “moss pink” plant, Phlox subulata, gave its name to the shower, which starts ahead of Saturday’s full “pink” moon.
The greatest time to look for stars is before midnight when the moon is lower in the sky. No matter where you are on the planet, the greatest time to see most meteor showers is between the hours of midnight and dawn, regardless of latitude.
There will be a lot of brief shooting stars if you stare straight at the radiant (the location where meteors seem to be coming from, which is in the constellation Lyra). Keep your gaze elsewhere if you want to catch longer and more impressive meteors.
The greatest place to see a meteor shower is out in the open, away from the glaring city lights. Yet, a tree or small structure may be useful in this situation to shield your eyes from the moon’s glare. Lay flat on the ground for 30 minutes to allow your eyes to acclimate to the darkness, then look up!
What are the Lyrids?
The Lyrids are a medium-strength shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. It’s produced by dust grains left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861.
The shower runs annually from about April 16 to 25. It peaks this year on the night of April 22 and the morning of April 23. The waxing gibbous moon will block out most of the fainter meteors this year, but if you are patient you should still be able to catch a few good ones.
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.