Watch for Lyrid meteors this week

 

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Assuming the weather cooperates, early risers should have no trouble spotting a fireball zooming across the sky shortly before dawn in the next few days. The Lyrids meteor shower is happening now.

They seem to be shooting out (radiant) from the Lyric constellation just northwest of its bright Vega star. They are debris from the comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), first noted more than 2,500 years ago.

The best days to look for them are April 21-22 when the Lyrids are expected to peak at about 18 meteors an hour. Pre dawn is the best time to watch because the moon is waxing gibbous so its illumination won’t be a factor after it sets.

For the time to watch in your zone visit Time and Date. For more information on where to look visit Space which has a map to help find the radiant. For more basic meteor and Lyrid information visit NASA Lyrids.

 

Lyrid Meteor shower

Meteor showers happen when Earth is in a comet's orbital path and comet debris fly across the sky. (NASA photo)
Meteor showers happen when Earth is in a comet’s orbital path and comet debris fly across the sky. (NASA photo)

If lucky enough to be in a part of North America not covered by clouds tonight look up.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower has been going on up above since April 16 while we have been going on with other business.

But it peaks from April 21 to April 23 with about 20 meteors zooming across the sky each hour.

What you need is to be away from street and building lights and look northeast after 10 p.m. or get up early while it’s still dark outside.

The Lyrids, the debris left by the comet thatcher, was named for its radiant point near the very bight Vega Star.

It is among the first meteor showers ever recorded according to old Chinese documents.  The comet, itself, is expected to be seen again in 2276.

Good meteor shower references can be found at Time and Date, Space and Earth and Sky.

 

Jodie Jacobs