April Meteor Showers Bring May Flowers Lyrids Expected to Peak Sunday

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Astronomers Discover Planet With Strange, Egg-Shaped OrbitChandra X-Ray Data May Have Revealed Most Distant ‘Cloaked’ Black Hole Stay on targetcenter_img The universe is pulling out all the stops for this year’s Earth Day: Sunday’s annual environmental celebration will close with the April Lyrids meteor shower.The celestial event, usually lasting 10 days, is expected to peak around April 22.One of the oldest known meteor showers, Lyrids have been observed for thousands of years; the first recorded sighting dates back to 687 BC.Also known as shooting stars, these particular leftover comet particles and bits of broken asteroids originate from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher (named after its finder, A. E. Thatcher—not the former British Prime Minister).And while there have been sightings of heavy showers—as many as 100 meteors per hour—viewers can expect a more subdued experience of about 10 to 20 Lyrid meteors per hour.Folks across the world can expect the greatest number of meteors to fall during the final hours before dawn, according to EarthSky, which predicts a “pretty good” show for 2018.Keen astronomers will want to keep an eye on the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra—the shower’s radiant point. The higher Vega climbs, the more meteors you’re likely to see.There is, of course, no need to actually identify specific cosmic spots: “Any meteors visible in the sky will likely appear unexpectedly, in any and all parts of the sky,” EarthSky noted.If you do spot one, be sure to look for a persistent train—an ionized gas trail that glows for a few seconds after the meteor passes. About a quarter of Lyrid meteors leave persistent trains.NASA suggests folks find an area “well away from city or street lights.”“Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket, or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible,” the agency’s website advises. “Be patient—the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”Check out Time and Date’s in-depth timetable to find out where and when to detect Lyrids.last_img

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