The Earth ploughs through the crumbs of comet Thatcher and we are all in for a moderate celestial fireworks dispay. Want to see the Lyrids?
Brilliant Lyrid meteor and the Summer milky way over the Adriatic sea. Photo: Marko Korošec.
Be out under the stars on Sunday morning for a nice celestial treat. The Lyrid meteor shower peaks with up to 15 to 20 meteors visible under dark rural skies. While the Lyrids are not the strongest annual meteor showers, it will be a while until the next one (the Perseids in August), so it is well worth making the best of it.
The best time to view the Lyrids is in the morning hours. On Sunday morning, the waxing crescent Moon sets around 2 am local time, leaving about a 2-hour window of dark skies before dawn. These two hours give you your best shot at seeing Lyrid meteors. There will be much fewer in the evening.
Observing and photographing meteors is just great fun and relaxation. Photo: Marko Korošec.
Lyrids will appear to come from a point high in the northeastern sky, between the constellations Lyra and Hercules. They are of medium speed, colorful and sometimes produce a short persistent train. There will also be random (sporadic) meteors appearing anywhere in the sky, maybe about 5-8 every hour. If you are lucky, you will see a bright fireball, brighter than any star in the sky. But remember to dress for cold: April nights, even in unseasonally warm weather, are still cold. And watching the sky for hours will make you feel cold. So dress like it is December! And – if you have a camera – you can try meteor photography.!