There's still time to catch the Lyrid meteor shower in SF Bay Area

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SF Gate 22 April, 2021 - 09:55pm 23 views

Can I see the Lyrid meteor shower?

Between midnight and dawn, the Lyrid meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky, according to the American Meteor Society. The best time for viewing them April 22 will be the last hour before the start of morning twilight: around 4-5 a.m. local Daylight Saving Time. CNNLyrid meteor shower peaks predawn April 22. Here's how to watch

When is the Lyrid meteor shower?

The Lyrid Meteor Shower, which typically peaks during late April, will light up the sky on the night of Wednesday, April 21 into the early morning hours of Thursday, April 22. al.comLyrid Meteor Shower 2021: Best times, tips to see Earth Day shooting stars

What direction is the Lyrid meteor shower?

You have a pretty good chance of seeing some Lyrids this year," Cooke said. According to NASA, the best way to find the meteors' radiant, or point at which they appear to originate from, is to lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up. NBC Bay Area2021 Lyrid Meteor Shower to Dazzle Night Sky With Shooting Stars

Is there a meteor shower April 22 2021?

Meteor Showers of 2021 The Lyrids reach their peak on the night of April 21–22, 2021, when you can expect to see an average of 10 meteors per hour in dark, clear skies between midnight and dawn. Rarely, the Lyrids produce surges of up to 100 meteors per hour. almanac.comMeteor Shower Calendar 2021: When Is the Next Meteor Shower?

The famous Lyrid meteor shower will become visible in the Northern Hemisphere beginning at about 10:30 p.m. local time and continuing overnight, weather permitting in your area of course. The best visibility will likely be before dawn, after the waxing gibbous moon sets; otherwise, you may have some interference from moonlight.

The individual meteors, or tiny space rocks, of the Lyrids appear when the Earth, moving in its orbit around the sun, plows into the dusty trail of a long-departed comet, called Thatcher, that swings by Earth every 415 years (the last time being in 1861, exactly 160 years ago). 

Related: Lyrid meteor shower 2021: When, where & how to see it

What's your favorite constellation? We want to know! Join our Space.com Forums here for this week's big question.

The radiant, or point that the shooting stars appear to emanate from, is in the Lyra constellation high above the horizon. You can find your way to Lyra by looking for Vega, one of the brightest stars of the northern sky. But make sure to look slightly away from Lyra, because the meteors with the longest trails will appear well outside of the constellation.

You don't need telescopes or binoculars to view a meteor shower; your eyes will do. Dress warmly (April is still very chilly in many U.S. regions) and get outside about 20 minutes before you plan to begin your observations, to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Move away from any outdoor lights that you can and if possible, use a lounge chair to avoid neck pain while looking at the sky.

Technically the Lyrids continue until April 30, but NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that you should see the most meteors Wednesday into Thursday morning (April 21 to April 22). "Get up early before dawn, after the moon has set. You have a pretty good chance of seeing some Lyrids this year," Cooke said. 

That said, NASA warns that the window of ideal viewing time Thursday is very short — probably only about half an hour before the sky brightens just before 5 a.m. local.

Cooke predicted skywatchers will see roughly 18 meteors an hour — depending on how dark your sky is, so get away from light pollution where you can (and if it's safe to do so, given that many regions of the world are under pandemic quarantines right now.)

Related: How to see the best meteor showers of 2021 

This year's predicted quantity of visible meteors is well within the usual range of 15 to 20 meteors an hour. At times, Lyrid meteor showers can produce bursts of up to 100 meteors an hour, but Cooke said the forecast for this year is very unlikely in that regard. Past prominent meteor showers were in 1803, 1922 (96 per hour) and in 1982 (80 per hour); 1803's event was particularly spectacular as the townspeople of Richmond, Virginia left their beds to see a shower that appeared to come from all parts of the sky.

Any meteors you can see this year will likely stand out. Skywatching columnist Joe Rao says the meteors are bright and swift, moving through the atmosphere at average speeds of 30 miles (48 kilometers) per second. Roughly a quarter of the individual meteors will leave big trains across the sky, perhaps as many as five to 10 such meteors during a night of excellent conditions around the peak shower date.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  

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How to watch the Lyrid meteor shower — there's still a chance to get some good views on Friday

Irish Examiner 22 April, 2021 - 08:21pm

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Stunning photos show the Lyrid Meteor Shower as it peaks this morning

Daily Mail 22 April, 2021 - 02:49am

By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline

The Lyrid meteor shower is peaking this morning, with up to 18 shooting stars streaking across the sky every hour from about midnight. 

Lucky skygazers have already spotted shooting stars from various locations across the country, including Church Crookham in Hampshire, and Tackley, Oxfordshire. 

While the celestial display will officially peak at midday on April 22, the best time to view it from the UK was just after sunrise this morning, or before sunset tonight, astronomers say. 

Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich said: 'It is expected that this meteor shower will produce around 18 meteors per hour.'

However, she added that the Moon will be at a waxing gibbous phase, meaning that it will be quite bright in the sky, 'so conditions won't be very favourable'.

Astronomers say to view the shower you should look to the northeast sky and find the star Vega in the Lyra constellation, as there is where they will appear to originate.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is peaking this morning, with shooting stars seen over Church Crookham in Hampshire in the early hours

While the celestial display will officially peak at midday on April 22, the best time to view it from the UK was just after sunrise. Pictured: shooting stars over Tackley, Oxfordshire

To locate where the  Lyrid meteor shower will be passing, use the brightest star in the constellation Lyra to find the 'radiant,' or the point  where it looks like meteors are originating 

The show is on between April 16 and 25, ramping up late on April 19 and reaching its peak on April 22.

The best place to see the Lyrid meteor shower is in the Northern Hemisphere, although it is visible from all over the world. 

Rural areas away from city lights will provide a clearer view. 

The best time to catch these 'shooting stars' is before dawn, when the moon has set.   

Lyrid meteors should be the brightest lights in the sky aside from the moon. 

They leave smoky trails that can last for several minutes. 

Meteor showers, or shooting stars, are caused when pieces of debris, known as meteorites, enter Earth's atmosphere at speeds of around 43 miles per second.

They burn up in the atmosphere and cause streaks of light as they speed across the sky - with varying numbers of large rocks visible over the course of the night.

The Lyrids takes its name from the constellation of Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars appear to originate from.

These meteors are pieces of debris falling from the Thatcher Comet, which is expected to return to the inner solar system in 2276.

The debris was leftover from its last visit through the inner solar system, something that happens every 415 years.

Ms de Sales Marques said: 'The Lyrids have been observed as far back as 687 BC, the oldest known record of any meteor showers still visible today.

'It is a moderate shower with the occasional fireballs, nicknamed the Lyrid Fireballs.'

Those waiting to catch a glimpse of the meteors will also be able to spot Vega, which is Lyra's brightest star.

Ms de Sales Marques told PA: 'Vega is one of the brightest stars in the sky and one of three stars that make up the Summer Triangle.

'This recognisable asterism will be easy to find in the pre-dawn sky.' 

The Lyrids takes its name from the constellation of Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars appear to originate from. Pictured: shooting stars over Ringwood, Hampshire

Lucky skygazers in Tissington, Derbyshire Dales got a stunning overhead display in the early hours of this morning

March – April: Constellation of Orion visible in the night sky now 

April 22 & 23: Lyrid Meteor Shower - expected to peak around these dates

April 27: Super Moon/Pink Moon - will be a Super Moon this year 

Vega is a fairly close star to the Earth at 25 light years away, putting it in our local stellar neighbourhood and is the fifth brightest star in the night sky.

It is just over twice the size of the sun but up to 40 times as luminous, with a surface temperature of 16,823 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly twice the sun's 9,941°F.

According to astronomers, the best way to see meteor shower is to be as far away from artificial lights as possible and give your eyes time to adjust.

Ms de Sales Marques said: 'It is worth mentioning that meteors will be visible all over the sky, not just in the direction of the radiant.

'So to maximise your chance of spotting meteors, try to find a safe place that has an unobstructed view of the whole sky.'

The Lyrids occur between 16-25 April every year and usually produce about 20 shooting stars per hour as the Earth passes through the comet debris field.

The next meteor shower, the Eta Aquarids, is expected to peak between midnight and dawn on May 5-6. 

The coronavirus lockdown measures have led to a spike in interest in astronomy, according to Wex Photo Video, who saw a 260% traffic spike to their astronomy section.

Particles from the comet Thatcher create the dust that make up the Lyrid meteor shower, named for the constellation Lyra. Pictured: shooting stars over Chard, Somerset

This coincided with news that there had been a notable drop in light pollution levels as a direct result of lockdown leading to less activity on the street.

CPRE, the Countryside charity said this had led to increased visibility, based on the results of a nationwide star count. 

Chris Grimmer, astrophotographer and spokesperson for Wex Photo Video, said: 'As the lockdown rules are relaxed and we can travel more freely, it is well worth a trip out of the lights to a local dark sky area. 

'Turn out all the lights, keep your phones in your pockets and let your eyes adjust to the dark; The view will not disappoint.'

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