The annual Lyrid meteor shower will make its way to our skies later this month marking an end to the three-month dry spell since the Quadrantid meteor shower in early January.
CNET reports the meteor shower will become active April 15 and will peak in the late hours of April 21 and earliest hours of April 22. The site adds that if your local forecast calls for cloudy skies that night, the night before the peak should provide a satisfactory showing of meteors as well.
During the night of the shower’s peak, the moon will be 68% illuminated, Space.com reports, adding there’s a chance moonlight could interfere with observations, depending on when you watch.
”Get up early before dawn, after the moon has set,” NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke said (via Space.com). “You have a pretty good chance of seeing some Lyrids this year.”
Look up!— Leah Holiove (@Leah_Holiove) April 9, 2021
The Lyrid meteor shower returns from April 16 to 25th. There will also be particles shed from Comet 1861 G1 Thatcher.
Under normal conditions, the shower will have about 10-20 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere. pic.twitter.com/5W0G2TKPhB
According to the American Meteor Society, the meteors in the Lyrid shower typically lack persistent trains (or tails) but are known to produce fireballs.
EarthSky.com offers three tips for people looking to enjoy the Lyrids this year:
- Familiarize yourself with the shower’s radiant point. According to the site, this shower will radiate from the constellation Lyra the Harp (hence the name Lyrid), which is situated near the bright star Vega. If you’re looking in that direction, you’ll have the best view of the shower.
- Distance yourself from light pollution. The further away from city lights you can go, the better. But remember to always pick a safe viewing spot.
- Don’t set high expectations. EarthSky.com shares a wise star-gazing proverb: “Meteor showers are like fishing. You go. You enjoy the night air and maybe the company of friends. Sometimes you catch something.”