The Lyrid Meteor Shower: A Weekend Full of Shooting Stars

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If you like to watch the sky and see shooting stars, then you’re lucky! This week has had plenty of them, as the annual Lyrid meteor shower has begun on 16 April. However, to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Space Science Telescope Institute (STScI) told us that the best chances to see the meteor shower is when it’s at its peak: 22 April, early in the morning.

Keeping an Eye on the Sky

Soon after the moon sets, you’ll have plenty of chances to see the meteor shower. You must also find a dark place, far from the city lights. Get a blanket, a lawn chair, rest your feet facing east and let the show begin.

Bill Cooke is a meteor expert at Marshall Space Flight Center, with NASA (Huntsville, Alabama) advised us to “take in as much sky as you can”.

Although not as amazing as the Perseids, Lyrids are also visible every year in April. The STScI classifies Lyrids as a medium-strength shower that emanates from the Lyra constellation. Its name means ‘Harp’.

Lyrids are space debris that move very fast in space, creating streaks of light when they enter the atmosphere of the Earth. They come from a comet called Thatcher that orbits the sun. The first sighting of the Lyrids that was recorded was back in 687 B.C., by the Chinese, making this meteor shower the oldest ever known.

Those that live in the US can have a good view of the meteor shower in the nights before the peak and after the peak – so that would mean on Friday, after midnight and on Sunday, after midnight, said NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If You’re Near a Telescope…

And while ‘hunting’ for shooting stars, you can also check out other shiny celestial objects. A few hours before midnight, you can see Jupiter rising in the East, says NASA. You can see them with a regular telescope. A few hours before dawn, you can also see Mars and Saturn in the Sagittarius constellation. At South, you can spot the constellation Leo and its Leo Triplet galaxies with the Regulus star – known as the heart of the lion.

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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