The meteor shower of the Lyrids at its maximum tonight!

The meteor shower of the Lyrids at its maximum tonight!


During its one-year revolution around the Sunthe Earth has its route which intersects several times that of comets and D’asteroids passed by there. The debris that the former leave behind creates what the astronomers are calling meteor swarmsor showers ofshooting Starswhen our planet crosses them.

One of the most important meteor showers of the year is the so-called Lyrids. It starts around April 15 and its activity peaks around April 22, before drying up at the end of the month. Fueled by the various passages in the past of comet Thatcher — C/1861 G1 (Thatcher) –, it waters our atmosphere of its tiny dust launched at an average of 48 km / h.

During the night of April 21 to 22, it will be necessary to deal with a gibbous moon decreasing (70% full), so with a brightness large enough to interfere with the observation of the weakest meteors. The average rate of visible Lyrids per hour at its maximum is 20. The night before and the next can be as prosperous as that, announced, of the peak of activity.

To observe them, it is better as always to turn to the constellation of radiant which gave its name to the swarm, in this case the Lyre, and wait until it is highest in the sky, or rather at the end of the night. Note that you will have lost nothing by getting up earlier than usual, because at this time of the night, about an hour before the first rays of the Sun, a magnificent alignment of four planets stands to the east. A show not to be missed, especially in the best possible conditions, tens of kilometers from the light pollution.

The Lyrid meteor shower in 2021

Article of Xavier Demeersmann published on April 22, 2021

It is tonight that the meteor shower of the Lyrids should reach its optimum. Unfortunately, the gibbous Moon that shines within the Lion this evening and until 4:30 a.m., its brilliance will interfere with the observation of the smallest meteors.

Notwithstanding the presence of this lighthouse at night, as always it is appropriate for astronomy to set sail from urban agglomerations to reach the countryside, as far as possible from the harmful light pollution (harmful both for astronomy and for biodiversity) in order to make the most of the celestial spectacle (plenty of things to see apart from the Lyrids) and catch the sparkling arrows of the Lyrids.

Remember that their name comes from the constellation of Lyra, which really only takes height in the middle of the night at this time. It is within her, more exactly between the brilliant Vega the ribs of Hercules where the radiant is located. It is mainly there, in this direction, that we must look.

The meteor shower is fueled by small specks of dust torn from Comet Thatcher during each of its passages around the Earth — the last was in 1861, the year of its discovery. They are about twenty per hour to fall on the upper atmosphere of the Earth, and to create the spectacle of one of the most beautiful showers of shooting stars of the year.

The Lyrids in 2020

Article by Nathalie Meyer published on April 21, 2020

It is said that the Lyrids are among the most beautiful shooting star showers of the year. And since April 16, the Earth is once again going through the dust current left by comet C/1861 G1 Thacher. According to the IMO, theInternational Meteor Organization, the peak of activity is to be expected on the night of April 21 to 22. The hourly rate is about twenty shooting stars per hour.

To observe them well, it is as always strongly advised to move away from the light pollution cities. But in a situation of confinement, we can count at least on the absence of the Moon — it will be the new Moon tomorrow — to darken the sky. And wait for the middle of the night — until thedawn –, that the constellation Lyra — and its brightest star, Vega — is high enough in our sky.

To capture the brightest and longest Lyrids, it is advisable to look a little further from their radiant, towards the constellation of Hercules or even Bouvier. Also observe the sky for at least an hour. Because the activity is not equal over time. Looking at the sky for only a few minutes, you might be unlucky enough to come across a trough and not see any shooting stars.

Finally, note that the weather forecast are, this time, more favorable to an observation in the north of the country than in the southern half.

Don’t miss the Lyrids meteor shower on April 21-22

Every year, between April 16 and 25, our Earth crosses themeteor swarm of the Lyrids. We owe it to comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher which made an incursion into the Solar system internally every 415 years. And it’s the first great opportunity in spring to witness a shower of shooting stars.

The highlight of the show is scheduled for the night of April 21-22. A little before dawn, on a site preferably spared by light pollution — this year, no worries about the Moon, which will not be present at that time –, you will have to look in the direction of the star Vega and some constellation Lyra.

It should be possible to observe between 10 and 20 meteors per hour. Something to enchant these difficult periods of confinement!

Don’t miss the maximum Lyrid meteor shower this weekend

Article by Floriane Boyer published on 20/04/2019

The meteoritic swarm of the Lyrids once again graces us with crossing our skies in the second half of April. In activity from the 16th to the 25th of the month, the shower of shooting stars should this year reach its maximum during the night of Sunday to Monday (April 21 to 22), according to theAmerican Meteor Society, at a rate of 10 to 20 meteors per hour. To make sure you can make a wish, it is advisable to also watch for their arrival the night before the peak of activity, as well as the following night, knowing that the maximum usually takes place in the night of April 22 to 23. However, the Moon risks hampering observations, since it will just come out of its full phase.

The meteors in this swarm appear to originate from a point to the right of the beautiful blue star Vega, the brightest in the constellation Lyra, hence their name. They correspond in fact to the dusty debris of comet C/1861 G1, nicknamed Thatcher, which the Earth crosses every year at the same period. Besides the magic of this show and the possible wishes, here is another good reason not to miss their visit: it is one of the oldest shooting star showers which we can witness today. The earliest known sighting dates back 2,700 years.

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