Archive for April, 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower

This year the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower should be a great spectacle as the Moon will not be lighting up the sky at all. As long as you are out in the country and have the luck of a clear sky, there should be a perfect view of the meteors. Even in a lighter sky, it should be a good sight.

The height of the shower falls on the night of the 21st April with the average number of meteors spotted per hour being at about 10-20, but it has been known to reach up to 100 meteors per hour! On the nights around the peak night, you should still be able to see the occasional meteor. I had a look last night but unfortunately didn’t see any, mainly because the area of the sky where they seem to originate from (The constellation Lyra near the bright star called ‘Vega’.) was too low on the horizon and was hidden by trees.

The Lyrids are thought to be sand grain sized debris from a passing comet. When they hit the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up, causing the light streaks in the Sky.  In the past, fireballs have been seen hurtling across the sky during this meteor shower. They are thought to originate from comet Thatcher that has an orbit of 416 years with its path staying practically the same each time is passes through.  This means the debris is always in the path of the Earth which is why it is an annual event.

So fingers crossed everyone gets to see a good few meteors! 😉