The Lyrids Will Make It Rain Meteors On Earth Day
If you saw that bright meteor a few nights ago, the day before the Antares launch, that was an earth grazer. One of the most popular types of meteors to see during the lyrids, which are active right now. Tonight is their peak performance.
Aprils’s shooting stars, the Lyrid meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails and is active each year from about April 16 to the 25th. You should be able to see about ten to twelve meteors per hour at the peak, which is on the mornings of the 22nd and the 23rd. Sometimes a rare surge will increase during the peak viewing times and you could see upwards of 100 per hour.
The radiant for the Lyrid meteor shower is near the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra. This rises in the northeast at about 10 pm on April’s evenings. Lyrids are an annual meteor shower from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. Every time the comet makes an orbit around the sun, it leaves behind a trail of debris. Which creates these the lyrids every time the earth passes through that debris trail. The Lyrids are the oldest recorded meteor shower, over 2,700. Ancient Chinese observers recorded the Lyrid meteors falling like rain in the year 687 B.C.
The nearly full moon will make viewing many of the meteors difficult, but if you can get away form the light pollution you will have a better chance. Also we have fair conditions for viewing due to cloud cover.
Good places to view the lyriads are any dark area away from light pollution from cities and small towns. The beaches are great, and if you are actively fishing you can stay out all night. Delaware Seashore State Park is a good area to view. The Delaware Bay beaches have less light pollution as well, but be mindful of the small neighborhoods there. The Eta Aquarids will be the next to peak in early May.
Next up will be the Eta Aquarids, which will peak May 6 into the early morning of May 7. These will produce up to 30 meteors per hour to the sky across the Northern Hemisphere and as many as 60 meteors per hour for those across the Southern Hemisphere.