Watching the Skies: First meteor shower of 2021 peaks this week

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WOOD TV8 19 April, 2021 - 01:43pm 12 views

When is the meteor shower?

Updated on April 19, 2021 at 9:05 pm. A meteor of the lyrids in the sky is seen on April 22, 2020 in Schermbeck, Germany. Earth Day is coming up on Thursday and what better way to celebrate than to take in the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower late on Wednesday into the overnight hours of Thursday. NBC 5 Dallas-Fort WorthWhat to Know About Earth Day Meteor Showers

Watching the Skies: 1st meteor shower of 2021 peaks this week

WOODTV.com 20 April, 2021 - 04:01pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There are several opportunities to view meteor showers during the summer and fall months.

Once the new year begins, however, there are several months with no meteor showers to look forward to at all. 

Thankfully, that all changes in April. The Lyrid meteor shower is the first meteor shower in 2021, and the peak will arrive this week. 

The Lyrids are normally active from mid- to late- April. During the peak, about 10-15 meteors per hour will be possible. 

This year, the peak of the Lyrids will arrive early in the morning on April 22. There will be a chance to see the meteors from now until around April 25. 

The moon is currently waxing, meaning it’s getting bigger and brighter with each passing night. Moonlight will make it slightly harder to see the meteors. Because of this, it’s a good idea to look for meteors after the moon has set.

Moonset on April 22 is just before 5 a.m., leaving a narrow window between moonset and dawn for optimal meteor viewing.

For the best viewing experience, head away from city lights. The radiant point of the Lyrid meteors is the constellation Lyra the Harp, but you don’t have to identify the constellation to see the meteors. Just look up. 

A thin waxing crescent moon was visible last week. Jessica Ash captured an incredible photo of it. The next full moon will occur on April 27. 

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The moon will act as your guide to find the planet Mars this week. 

The new moon happened Sunday and it will still not be visible Monday. By Tuesday, those with great eyesight may be able to pick out the thin, waxing moon low on the horizon in the west. Binoculars will help you spot it. 

The waning moon will move by Jupiter and Saturn. Look to the southeast before sunrise to see the three. The moon was to the right of Saturn Monday and will be below Saturn Tuesday. Wednesday, you can look just above the moon to find Jupiter. The moon will be to the lower left of the two planets by Thursday morning.

The moon will officially be full during the afternoon of March 28, but it will look full on March 27 as well. The full moon of March is also known as the Worm Moon, named for the worms that start to emerge when spring weather arrives. Other names include the Crow Moon and the Sugar Moon.

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Everything you need to know about the Lyrid Meteor Shower 2021

Mirror Online 20 April, 2021 - 04:01pm

Skygazers are in for a treat this week as the Lyrid Meteor Shower lights up the night sky.

Described as one of the most significant meteor showers of the year, those who look to the sky are expected to be able to see up to 18 shooting stars an hour.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower will be the first of 2021, and astronomy fans will have a good chance of seeing a meteor – weather permitting.

The meteor shower takes place between April 13 and April 29 this year – but you’ll want to make sure you catch the peak.

You’ll have to stay up late to see them, so make sure you've had plenty of sleep and prepare yourself.

Here is everything you need to know about the Lyrid Meteor Shower 2021.

The Lyrids meteors started radiating on April 13, and began intensifying on Monday, April 19.

But don’t worry, if you haven’t spotted them yet you’ve got time.

They will likely speak in the predawn hours of Thursday, April 22 – this will be your best bet to spot one.

But the following morning, right before dawn on April 23, you could also have a good opportunity to see them.

The Royal Greenwich Observatory said: "The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 22 April (the night of the 21 April).

"Wait until after midnight when the radiant point, in the constellation of Lyra, will have risen in the East.

"The later in the morning you wait, the higher the radiant will rise and the fewer meteors will be hidden below the horizon.

"But the closer you get to sunrise the brighter the sky is going to become so plan accordingly!"

The Lyrid meteors radiate from the constellation Lyra, which can easily be spotted.

You’ll want to look for Vega, which is the brightest star in the constellation.

According to Earthsky, the best way to see Vega is to look northeast in the sky.

You should be able to see streaks of light blazing through the sky – but make sure your eyes have adjusted to the dark.

You should also try to find somewhere away from light pollution.

The good news is that you don't need binoculars, a telescope or any other equipment!

The first meteor shower of 2021 reaches its peak Wednesday night

The Know 19 April, 2021 - 07:00am

The first notable celestial event of the year occurs this week when the Lyrids meteor shower reaches its peak Wednesday night and into the pre-dawn hours of Thursday.

And that’s not the only event of note in the heavens this month. The first of two “supermoons” this year will occur April 27. The second will follow on May 26.

The Lyrids are considered a medium-strength meteor shower, generating up to 20 per hour, according to a post on the NASA Science website. Fans of meteors look forward to them because there is little or no meteor activity from December until April.

“The Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors, though not as fast or as plentiful as the famous Perseids in August,” NASA Science explains. “Lyrids can surprise watchers with as many as 100 meteors seen per hour. Sightings of these heavier showers occurred in 1803 (Virginia), 1922 (Greece), 1945 (Japan), and 1982 (U.S.). Lyrids frequently leave glowing dust trains behind them as they streak through the earth’s atmosphere. These trains can be observable for several seconds.”

For hardcore fans (or insomniacs), the best viewing may occur after the moon sets at 4 a.m. on Thursday.

When the supermoon occurs next week, the moon will be only 222,135 miles from earth. It will be even closer for the May super moon at 222,048 miles. A super moon occurs when the moon’s perigee — the point in its monthly orbit when it is nearest to the earth — coincides with a full moon. The moon’s closest approach of the year will occur on Dec. 4 at 221,795 miles, but the moon will not be visible that night.

Another meteor shower, the Eta Aquarids, begins Monday and peaks May 4-5.

“The Eta Aquariids are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics,” according to a post by the American Meteor Society. “From the equator northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. These are swift meteors that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs.”

The Post's expert on skiing, mountaineering and endurance sports, John Meyer is a member of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Colorado Running Hall of Fame.

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