Meteor Shower Season Is Almost Here & The Lyrids Will Soon Dazzle Our Skies
The Lyrids meteor shower marks the end of the shower drought, and it's coming soon.
There’s been a small hiatus in meteor showers over the past few months, which is a real bummer for those of us who love looking at the sparkling skies. The last time we had one zip through the sky was early January when the Quadrantids meteor shower peaked, and since then, we’ve been in a veritable drought. Luckily, the drought is ending soon with the Lyrids meteor shower fast approaching. Here’s what you need to know.
What are the Lyrids meteors?
The Lyrids meteor shower marks the end of the sky show drought and is the “oldest recorded meteor shower,” according to TimeandDate, with sightings first recorded more than 2,500 years ago.
The Lyrids originate from the debris of a comet, as most meteor showers do (with the exception of the Quadrantids). The comet parent of the Lyrids is called Thatcher, per TimeandDate. This comet takes approximately 415 years to orbit around the Sun, and the next time it’s expected to be visible from Earth isn’t until the year 2276. But luckily for us, we don’t have to wait that long — we can at least see the debris from this flying fireball.
This meteor shower isn’t super active, but there are potentials to see surges that can bring up to 100 meteors per hour. On average, though, you could expect to see 10 to 15 per hour passing through the sky, according to EarthSky.com.
When will the Lyrids meteor shower peak?
The Lyrid Meteor Shower is typically active between April 16 and 25 each year, and it peaks around April 22 or 23, according to TimeandDate.
Fortunately, the shower peak this year isn’t at the same time as the full Moon. This means the show should be easier to view without the bright light from the Moon competing in the sky.
“In a moonless sky, about a quarter of Lyrid meteors leave a persistent train, a trail of ionized gas that glows for a few seconds after the meteor has passed,” EarthSky.com notes.
Since the peak is over two days, there’s not an optimal time to head out to watch. Just pick the best evening that works for the family between April 22 or 23 and head out when it’s dark.
How can I watch the Lyrids meteor shower?
You don’t need any special equipment to see the Lyrids shower.
To have a good view of the show, it’s more about where you’re watching. The Lyrids are best observed under a dark sky and away from city light or a really bright Moon.
Since this event is in April, the weather will be nicer than the last meteor shower in January. Bring chairs to sit in that you and the kids can comfortably look up in, or a blanket for lying on so you can look up to see more of the sky.
The next meteor shower is the Eta Aquariids coming in May.