Lyrid Meteor Shower – how many meteors do you want to see?

Have you ever seen a meteor? How many do you want to see this April? The Lyrid Meteor Shower is an annual event which is viewable by people, particularly in the northern hemisphere.

 

What's more - you don't need any special equipment to see them - just lie back and look up at the night sky.

 
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Lyrid Meteor Shower
Lyrid Radiant - click image to enlarge
 

When can I see the Lyrid Meteor Shower?

Well it's already started, but you'll get the best views from the evening of Thursday 21st and it'll keep going until the early hours of Saturday 23rd April. You may be lucky enough to see some on the days before and after those mentioned.

The best time to see the meteor shower is when there is little moonlight - unfortunately, this year, 2016, the full moon coincides with the dates the meteors are most likely to appear, so it will be more difficult to see many this time around.

Where do the meteors come from?

The Lyrid meteors come from a Comet - C/1861 G1 Thatcher - and people have been reportedly observing them for more than 2,600 years!

Every year, during April, the Earths orbit around the Sun takes it through debris from the comet. It's this debris which causes the meteor shower.

 
 
 
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Where should you look?

Meteor showers are named by tracing the origin of their path, back to a specific point in the sky - this is called the radiant. The constellation next to the radiant is normally where the meteor shower gets its name from - in this case they appear to come from the Lyra constellation, giving them their name, Lyrids.

 

Lyra can be found in the north eastern sky (just after sunset), just to the left of the mighty Hercules constellation, shown here - progressing upwards towards the north western sky throughout the night:

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Lyrids Meteor Shower April

Keep your eyes scanning the whole sky though, as you may see them anywhere!

This short video shows some footage of the meteors from 2014:

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How many meteors will I see?

It's not very predictable, but you could be seeing in the region of 20 Lyrid meteors per hour. In the southern hemisphere, you're less likely to see as many before midnight.

 
Lyrid Meteor Shower - how many meteors do you want to see?

Is it the same time every year?

Yes, because it coincides with the Earth's orbit around the Sun, you can view the Lyrid meteor shower between April 16th and April 26th every year, and can view it from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

 

If you look up in July, and particularly into August, you'll also be able to see another famous meteor display, the Perseid Meteor Shower - find out more here.

 

So how many meteors did you see? Let me know below, and let's see who observes the most!!

All the best, Mark

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