Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Shooting stars across the sky

112 Agency 112 Agency
Sandra Phillips | 24 April, 2019, 11:00

Meteor showers are typically best seen in the pre-dawn hours when the skies are dark and the meteors are bight. The Lyrids seem to streak out from an area, called the radiant point, near the bright star named Vega.

If you were unable to watch Sunday night, or just want to try and catch more it - it may be worth checking the sky a few times tomorrow night to see if you'll have any clear skies to watch the shower. With up to 20 meteors an hour bursting through the atmosphere during the peak, the shower is a magnificent sight to behold.

Increasing cloud cover and rain by daybreak will hinder our chances.

"This year, the moon is going to be a problem for prospective meteor watchers", because the moon will be so bright, Joe Rao, an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium, wrote for Space.com, Live Science's sister site. The peak falls on Monday April 22 through Tuesday, April 23.

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The Lyrid are one of the oldest of the known meteor showers, with recorded sightings dating from 2,700 years ago.

The rate of shooting stars according to astronomers is about 18 meteors per hour, but can see rare outbursts of up to 100 an hour. Occasional bright meters may be seen through April 26.

The annual Lyrid meteor shower, derived from particles dropped by comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher), runs from April 16 to 28 and peaks on Monday, April 22.

"Lie down comfortably on a blanket or lawn chair, and look straight up". "Its glare will drown out all but the brightest Lyrids". Still, some skywatchers might try their luck despite the brightly shining moon.

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