Look Up: The Impressive Lyrids Meteor Shower Soars Through The Sky This Month
Did you spend the first months of 2022 thinking about the future? It’s only natural whenever a new year rolls around, especially a few years after the start of a pandemic. Over the next few weeks, however, you may also want to gaze skyward – and feast your eyes on the night sky.
During the second half of April each year, the Lyrids meteor shower sets the sky ablaze. This year, that’s exactly what he does from April 14 to 30. It might not be as famous as Halley’s Comet, but it’s still very impressive. Plus, rather than only being visible every 75 years (the next sighting of Halley’s Comet will be in 2061), you can catch Lyrids every year.
In 2022, the Lyrids will be the most spectacular on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 April. For the people of Down Under, you’ll want to look up early on Saturday morning. Here’s how to take a peek from your garden.
WHAT IS THAT
The Lyrids meteor shower is named after the constellation Lyra, from where the meteor shower appears to originate from nearby star Vega, and is created by debris from Comet Thatcher. While the comet, which takes around 415 years to orbit the sun, won’t be visible from Earth until 2276, the Lyrids can be seen every fall between around April 14 and 30. So you can even write it down for next year. It’s also the oldest recorded meteor shower, so there’s that too.
On average, you can see up to 18 meteors per hour, but the Lyrids are also known to have outbursts of nearly 100 meteors per hour. So even if no explosion is predicted for 2022, you might get lucky.
WHEN TO SEE IT
In Australia, rain will peak early in the morning on Saturday April 23 depending on the time and date, but can still be seen on either side of those dates between Thursday April 14 and Saturday April 30. The best time to be amazed is just before dawn after the moon has set, so around 4am.
At that time, you’ll be vying to see meteors moving at around 177,000 kilometers per hour, shining extraordinarily and leaving a long wake. The cause of the shower is essentially Earth getting in the way of the comet, causing stardust to fry in the atmosphere.
HOW TO SEE IT
When a meteor shower lights up the sky, getting as far away from the light pollution as possible is the best way to get the best view. If you can’t do that, you can always take a peek from your garden or balcony.
To help you locate the Lyrids, we recommend downloading the Sky Map app – it’s the easiest way to navigate the night sky (and it’s great fun to use even on a rainless night of meteorites). If you are more into details, the time and date also has a table that shows the direction and altitude of the Lyrids. The site updates these details daily.
Only downside: the weather. If showers or clouds appear, they could present visibility problems. So, keep an eye on the forecast if you’re planning on heading to a prime viewing location.
Top image: Mike Lewinski via Flickr.
Posted on April 13, 2022 by