2021 Lyrid meteor shower lighting up the sky now: How to watch the show

Science

CNET 18 April, 2021 - 05:06pm 18 views

When is the meteor shower 2021?

The peak night of activity is expected to be Wednesday/Thursday, April 21/22, 2021, but the Lyrids tend to produce good rates of shooting stars for about three nights. So it's worth also looking skywards on Tuesday/Wednesday, April 20/21 and on Thursday/Friday, April 22/23, 2021. ForbesHow, When And Where You Can See A ‘Fireball’ This Week As Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks

While the Lyrid meteor shower only offers about 10 to 15 meteors per hour at its peak, it can still be a spectacular sight to see if you catch a few streaking across the night sky.

Calling all stargazers: The first major meteor shower of the year — the Lyrids — will occur in mid-April and is expected to light up the evening sky with a dazzling display.

The Lyrids are active each year from about April 16 to 25 with peak viewing between midnight April 21 and dawn on April 22.

While the Lyrid meteor shower only offers about 10 to 15 meteors per hour at its peak, it can still be a spectacular sight to see if you catch a few streaking across the night sky.

The shower will peak April 21 through April 22 (Wednesday through Thursday), meaning viewing at this time will be the best opportunity to observe the meteors.

But viewing opportunities will begin as early as the evening of April 16.

"We expect the shower to pick up steam beginning late at night on Monday, April 19, 2021, probably peaking in the predawn hours on Thursday, April 22," EarthSky wrote.

This year, the best time to watch will likely be between moonset and dawn.

And while shooting stars can be seen anywhere in the sky, it’s best to watch away from city lights and other obstructed views.

"The Lyrid meteor shower has the distinction of being among the oldest of known meteor showers. Records of this shower go back for some 2,700 years," EarthSky wrote.

And according to EarthSky, the Lyrids are known to have outbursts. In fact, in 1982, American observers saw an outburst of nearly 100 Lyrid meteors per hour.

About a quarter of Lyrid meteors leave persistent trains. A meteor train is an ionized gas trail that glows for a few seconds after the meteor has passed, EarthSky noted.

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Lyrid meteors face off against a bright moon this week

Space.com 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

The Lyrid shower is not a rich display, certainly not to be compared to December's Geminids or the Perseids of August. A single observer looking skyward under dark, clear skies may see 10 to 20 meteors per hour. 

But many of these meteors tend to be brilliant and appear to move fairly fast, streaking through our atmosphere at an average velocity of 30 miles (48 kilometers) per second. About a quarter of them leave persistent trains. Within a day on either side of the maximum, a skywatcher can usually catch five to 10 Lyrids under good skies. 

Related: How to see the best meteor showers of 2021

The Lyrids are actually the legacy of a long-departed comet bearing the name of Thatcher. This modestly bright comet was discovered in April 1861 by New York amateur astronomer, A.E. Thatcher. 

The orbit of the Lyrids strongly resembles that of comet Thatcher, which has an orbital period of about 415 years. The meteors are cosmic dross; tiny bits and pieces shed by this comet on previous visits to the sun. The Earth's orbit nearly coincides with the comet around April 22 each year. When we pass that part of our orbit, we ram through the dusty debris left behind by the comet. 

We call these meteors "Lyrids" because their paths, if extended backward, appear to diverge from a spot in the sky a bit southwest of the brilliant bluish-white star Vega, in the constellation of Lyra, the lyre. 

Vega does not begin to make its appearance until around 9 p.m. local daylight time, when it rises above the northeast horizon. By 4 a.m., it has climbed to a point high in the sky, more than two-thirds of the way from the horizon to the point directly overhead. 

We recommend lying down on a lounge chair that offers a wide-open view of the sky rather than risk a strained neck. Bundle up, too, for while it won't be as cold as on a winter's night, nights in April can still be quite chilly.

A bright waxing gibbous moon, two days past first quarter, will pose a significant handicap in viewing the Lyrids this year. Located to the west (right) of the Sickle of Leo, the moon will be in the sky for much of the overnight hours of April 21-22, likely squelching a view of all but the brightest Lyrids. 

However, here's a bit of good news: the moon will set at around 4 a.m., just when Vega is soaring high in the sky. So, for about a half hour, until about 4:30 a.m., the skies will be dark and you'll be able to watch the Lyrids under the best possible conditions. Then, the skies will begin to brighten with the approach of sunrise soon after 6 a.m. 

Among all the meteor showers, the Lyrids are the oldest documented, having been first recorded by the Chinese in 687 B.C. when "many stars flew from the northeast." There have been other noteworthy Lyrid showers recorded such as in 15 B.C. (China) and 1136 (Korea). 

In 1803, a fire alarm roused many townspeople in Richmond, Virginia, from their beds to witness meteors that seemed to fall from every point in the heavens, like a shower of skyrockets. 

In 1922, skywatchers recorded an astonishing Lyrid rate of 96 per hour, and in 1982 the meteors surprised observers with rates as high as 80 per hour. 

So, the bottom line is that although the Lyrids are admittedly a weak display, they have also have had a history to surprise observers, so it's always one to watch.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower | April 19 - April 25 | Star Gazers

South Florida PBS 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

Lyrids: How to Watch Spring's Biggest Meteor Shower

ComicBook.com 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

Each year, just as spring really starts getting into the swing of things, the Lyrid meteor shower returns to give stargazers a true cosmic sight to behold. The meteors finally became active this week and between now and late April, those interested will get to see a fair share of activity should they turn their eyes to the night sky.

Naturally, if you're hoping to watch the Lyrids, the professionals recommend you get as far away from light pollution as possible. NASA says you'll want to give yourself plenty of time outside — at least 30 minutes — before you'll really start to see activity as your eyes continue adjusting to the dark.

There's not really a certain part of the sky the experts suggest looking towards as they should be visible most anywhere. The meteors will appear to originate from the constellation Lyra. If you're using a star-tracking mobile app or happen to be an ace star-spotter, Lyra is northeast of the star Vega.

After your eyes get adjusted, you'll want to plan plenty of time to stay outdoors. The Lyrid meteor shower is considered a "medium activity" event, meaning anywhere from 10 to 20 meteors can be spotted per hour, so one every three to six minutes.

Time-wise, you should also plan to either stay up pretty late — or get up extremely early. While you'll have no problem spotting the Lyrids anytime after 10:30 p.m. local time give or take a few minutes, peak activity will happen between 2:48 a.m. and 6:09 a.m. on April 20th.

"Their radiant—the point in the sky from which the Lyrids appear to come from—is the constellation Lyra, the harp. Lyrids appear to particularly radiate out from the star Vega—Vega is the brightest star within this constellation. (Helpful Hint: Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and is easy to spot in even light-polluted areas,)" NASA says of the meteors.

The organization adds, "The constellation of Lyra is also where we get the name for the shower: Lyrids. It is actually better to view the Lyrids away from their radiant: They will appear longer and more spectacular from this perspective. If you do look directly at the radiant, you will find that the meteors will be short—this is an effect of perspective called foreshortening."

NASA has also released a meteor-tracking tool to lookup potential meteor shower information in your exact area. You can see and use that tool here.

Copyright 2020 ComicBook.com. All rights reserved.

Lyrid meteor shower: The best times to look up and see shooting stars

WKRC TV Cincinnati 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

Lyrid meteor shower of 2021 has begun

KMVT 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

According to College of Southern Idaho observatory coordinator Chris Anderson, the shower will be most prominent Thursday at 5 a.m. Anderson says the showers aren’t very big, just about 20 meteors an hour, but they can be quite the spectacle.

“So, the Lyrid’s have this ability to produce what are called fireballs, which is just an unusually bright meteor, and they can occasionally be bright enough that they’ll actually leave sort of a glowing contrail, a smoke trail in the sky that will linger for a few of seconds afterward,” says Anderson. “But those will be the rare ones, you’re not gonna see 20 of those per hour. So, you want to be out and just looking for as long as you can.”

Anderson says the meteors are as bright as the big dipper, so if you can see that, you’ll be able to see the meteors.

Also don’t look at any light, including your phone, for fifteen minutes to let your eyes adjust.

Skywatch: Look for meteors late this week

WBNS 10TV 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

Lyrid Meteor Shower and Pink Supermoon - how and when you can see them this month

Lancs Live 18 April, 2021 - 07:01pm

Next week we'll be able to watch the spectacular Lyrid meteor shower - one of the best astronomical shows of the year.

The celestial display takes place every year in April and is considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year with up to 20 or more shooting stars per hour at its peak.

The meteors are active every year between April 16-25 and are set to peak on Thursday, April 22.

While back-to-back super moons will appear over the next two months, with a Pink Moon and a Flower Moon set to shine bright in the sky.

The April and May full moons will both appear to loom large as the moon is at its closest points to Earth on its orbit.

The Pink Moon supermoon will be at its peak on Tuesday, April 27 at 4.31am.

The Flower Moon supermoon will be at its largest and brightest on Wednesday, May 26 at 12.13pm.

The Lyrids will be second meteor shower of 2021.

The meteors are active every year between April 16-25 and are set to peak on Thursday, April 22.

Anyone aiming to watch this starry display need only turn their eyes towards the sky on the night of April 22 through to the morning of April 23.

The greatest showers are expected to streak across the sky just before dawn.

During this time, skywatchers should be able to spot an average of 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour. But in some years people have witnessed up to 100 an hour.

Brits hoping for a glittering display will have head out during the darkest hours to maximise their chances of seeing the shooting stars, as the best time to view the Lyrids are between midnight and before dawn.

Just like most other meteor showers, high-tech cameras and telescopes won't be needed to spot the meteors, though these will still enhance the view.

Avid stargazers should consider using a sleeping bag or a reclining chair to admire the shower comfortably outside - just remember to wrap up warm and allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness for at least 20 minutes.

Locations that are as far away as possible from any interfering artificial lights are advised to be able to see the shooting stars clearly.

Once settled in a spot, look up and take in as much of the sky as possible and the flickering stars should start to appear.

Remember meteors often come in spurts interspersed with lulls.

The distance between the Moon and the Earth varies, because the Earth is not right at the centre of the Moon’s orbit and the Moon’s orbit is not a circle (it’s an ellipse).

The moment when the Moon is closest to the Earth is called a lunar perigee and if this coincides with a full moon, you get a supermoon

When the Moon is furthest away it is known as a lunar apogee. A full moon at this point is called a micromoon.

According to the Royal Museums Greenwich, Northern Native Americans call the the April full moon the Pink Moon after a species of early blooming wildflowers. In other cultures, this moon is called the fish moon, the egg moon and the sprouting grass moon.

Whereas the Flower Moon of May gets its name from the blooming flowers of spring, other names include the milk moon, the hare moon and the corn planting moon, reports Bristol Live.

The reason we see a supermoon is not because the moon physically grows in size. The moon’s orbit around the earth is not a perfect circle, but an ellipse.

This means at some points it is at its closest to earth (a lunar perigee) and at other times, it is at its further away (a lunar apogee).

If a full moon coincides with a lunar perigee, you get a supermoon.

Clearly too early to give detailed forecasts, but here is what the Met Office is saying about the weather from Monday, April 26, to Monday, May 10.

Confidence remains low for this period, however, mixed and slowly evolving weather patterns, typical of spring, are most likely through the late-April into May.

Fine and dry weather is likely to be more prevalent overall, especially during late-April, with this signal waning during May, although all areas are likely to see some showers or longer spells of rain at times. Temperatures probably close to average with some warmer spells are possible at times.

Lyrid meteor shower visible in clear Seattle skies

MyNorthwest.com 16 April, 2021 - 01:13pm

Besides boosting your Vitamin D levels, clear skies in the greater Seattle area in mid-April mean you can spot the Lyrid meteor shower.

The Lyrids are active starting April 16 – 25, likely peaking around the predawn hours on Thursday, April 22, according to Earthsky. Unfortunately, by then, the clouds and rain will have returned.

Clear skies and warmer nights are near-perfect conditions for us Pacific Northwesterners to grab a camping chair and a blanket, and head to a dark locale. To find the meteor shower, look northeast and find the bright star Varga. It’ll be the brightest star in that direction.

The Lyrids appear to radiate from Varga in the Lyra constellation, hence the name.

According to NASA, “The Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors, though not as fast or as plentiful as the famous Perseids in August, Lyrids can surprise watchers with as many as 100 meteors seen per hour.”

The Lyrids are one of the oldest observed meteor showers, with the first recorded sighting in 687 BC by the Chinese, according to NASA.

For the best viewing, try to find a dark location away from city lights. Or at least do your best. Give your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust.

You’ll see the most activity between moonset and dawn — so roughly midnight to 5:30am.

With several clear nights ahead, it could be a good time to catch the beginning of the Lyrid meteor shower as debris from Comet Thatcher collides with Earth's atmosphere. This meteor shower has been observed for 2,700 years!

Learn more at: https://t.co/3hJHbmJzGT pic.twitter.com/y8YOKgS2Us

— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) April 15, 2021

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