Lyrical Meteor Shower of April – Sky and Telescope



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The Moon gets in the way of April Lyrid's meteor shower, but it's still worth scanning the sky for the chance of fireballs.

Lyrid meteor shower is scheduled for peak at night from 21-22 April. Unfortunately, this is not long after the full moon on April 19, which means that the vision will be compromised by the moonlight. Even so, it pays to scan the skies for the meteors. Lyrids are generally not known for high meteors, usually 10 to 20 per hour, but fireballs have been reported in the past. And there were a few times, most notably in 1922 in Poland and 1982 in North America, when the shower produced hundreds of meteors per hour. For observers in the Northern Hemisphere, the radiant, at the border between Hercules and Lyra, is low on the northeast horizon at dusk and continues to rise at night.

Lyrid Radiant Diagram

Lyrid meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. If you can track a meteor trail to an apparent point of origin near Vega in Lyra, you'll know you've seen a Lyrid.

Follow the shower online

Do you have an hour off? Take a clock, clipboard, paper and pencil and head outdoors. Track your meteor sightings and report them to the International Meteorological Organization (IMO). Keep a count for at least an hour and try to determine if the meteors you have reported belong to the shower or if they are sporadic not associated. See the IMO Visual Remarks page for more information on how to count meteors and record your data. As meteor observers report their counts to the IMO, you can see this year's Lyrid activity curve develop hourly.

Arriving…

Strong moonlight interferes with many meteor showers this year, but Sky and telescope predicts that one of the best meteor showers of the year will be the Eta Aquarids, appearing in the early hours of May 6. Read more about the best meteor showers in 2019 and happy hunting!


A modified version of this article appeared for the first time in the April 2019 issue of Sky & Telescope.

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