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Lyrid meteor shower will occur this weekend

Ten to 20 meteors per hour will be visible in dark sky areas at shower's peak.

The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on Saturday morning, April 22, with the best views for observers occurring during the three hours before dawn.

Viewers in dark sky areas should be able to see between 10 and 20 meteors per hour with little interference from the waning crescent Moon, which will not rise until morning twilight begins.

Like the Perseids, the Lyrids are bright and travel very fast, with an average velocity of 30 miles (48 km) per second or 108,000 miles per hour. At times they produce trains, glowing streaks that last for several seconds or longer, as well as fireballs.

The radiant or point from which the meteors come is in the eastern region of the constellation Hercules, close to the border of the constellation Lyra.

At midnight, this point will be high up in the eastern sky.

According to the American Meteor Society, the shower will peak at 1700 Universal Time, which translates to 1 PM EDT and 10 AM PDT, during daylight hours.

This means the best viewing conditions for people in North America will occur between 2 and 5 AM on Saturday.

Lyrids will be visible one day before the peak and one day after although viewers will see fewer meteors on those days.

Dust from Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) is the source of the Lyrids, which are visible when Earth passes through its debris field every year in late April.

Comet Thatcher takes 415 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.

Chinese astronomers first observed the Lyrids more than 2,700 years ago.

An interactive visualization of Earth passing through the meteor stream created by dust from Comet Thatcher, created by Ian Webster using data from Peter Jenniskens, is available for viewing at https://www.meteorshowers.org/.

Laurel Kornfeld

Laurel Kornfeld

Staff Writer
Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer and amateur astronomer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.
About Laurel Kornfeld (1100 Articles)
Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer and amateur astronomer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.