The Lyrids meteor showers will occur this year during the nights of April 21 and April 22. The radiant of the meteor shower is in the constellation Lyra, which gives the showers their name. It is probably just as accurate to say the radiant originates near the bright star Vega. The source of this particular meteor shower is Comet Thatcher when the Earth passes through its dusty tail. Best times for viewing this year will be before dawn on the night of April 22 and on the morning of April 23, with maximum shower activity between 2am and sunrise. Usually one can find from 5 to 20 meteors per hours.

The Lyrids have been observed for 2,600 years, some years being very good for viewing and some not so good. This year may be a little difficult unless you are far outside the influence of city lights. The reason is the full moon will occur at the same time as the meteor shower which will put added light into the sky, possibly making the shower viewing a bit more difficult, especially if there are only a few showers per hour displaying.

The Lyrids typically are as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper, with some showers being especially bright. These are called Lyrid fireballs and often leave behind a smoky trail that can be spotted in the sky.

 

Lyrids radiant

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