Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018 Peaks This Weekend: What to Expect
Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018 Peaks This Weekend: What to Expect
A graphic from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory showing where in the sky the Lyrid meteor shower can be seen until April 30. Credit NASA JPL
20 April, 2018, 17:57
The annual Lyrid meteor shower usually occurs between April 16 and 25 each year, when our Earth passes through the tail of a comet.
You might be able to catch some meteors on the mornings of April 21 and 22 as well, as the waxing moon will keep the skies dark enough just before dawn to see some meteors light up the sky.
"Take in as much sky as you can", Bill Cooke, a meteor expert at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told NBC News MACH in an email. "Even in the darkest areas away from city lights, the moon will bring some natural light pollution to the sky during the first part of the night".
Those that worry about the weather conditions for the meteor shower can rest assured that most of the northeastern and southwestern USA night skies will be clear, ensuring flawless viewing conditions, although there is a chance for clouds to spread across the central US covering the nation's heartland and parts of the Appalachians.
A simulation of the view to the east-northeast as seen from the heart of the British Isles at 12am local time on Sunday 22 April. Lyrids meteors are known to come in fast, though not as fast as the Leonids meteors, which will hit their peak this coming November.
"In the early morning sky, a patient observer will see up to more than a dozen meteors per hour in this medium-strength shower, with 18 meteors per hour calculated for the peak", wrote Jane Houston Jones of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "U.S. observers should see good rates on the nights before and after this peak".
It is said to be one of the most breathtaking showstoppers with up to 100 shooting stars every hour. Find a spot where the sky appears clear, without light pollution.
When the Lyrid meteor shower will be at its peak then people can see about 10-20 meteors per hour. Before sunrise, you have to locate the star Vega, which the brightest of the constellation of Lyra (which gave the Lyrids name).
Skywatchers won't need a telescope or binoculars to view the meteor shower either - it will be visible to the naked eye.
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