The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Saturday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Auckland
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
TRAVEL & LEISURE

Everything You Need to Know About This Year's The Lyrid Meteor Shower

Head out to your backyard or balcony and look up.
  shares

Everything You Need to Know About This Year's The Lyrid Meteor Shower

Head out to your backyard or balcony and look up.
  shares

Been spending the first few months of 2020 pondering the future? Given the current state of affairs, that's only natural. Next week, however, you might want to look to the skies as well — and feast your eyes on a luminous night sky.

From around April 16 –25, the Lyrids Meteor Shower sets the sky ablaze. It might not be as famous as Halley's Comet, but it's still very impressive. Plus, rather than only being visible every 75 years (the next Halley's Comet sighting is in 2061), you can catch the Lyrids annually. This year, the shower will be at its most spectacular from April 22–23. For folks located Down Under, early on Thursday, April 23 is when you'll be peering upwards. Here's how to catch a glimpse from your backyard.

cp-line

WHAT IS IT

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is named after constellation Lyra, which is where the meteor shower appears to come from near star Vega, and is created by debris from comet Thatcher. While the comet, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the sun, won't be visible from Earth again until 2276, the Lyrids can be seen every autumn, between April 16–25. So you can even pencil it in for next year. It's also the oldest recorded meteor shower, so there's that, too.

On average, you can see up to 18 meteors per hour, but the Lyrids are also known to have outbursts of nearly 100 meteors per hour. So, while no outburst is predicted for 2020, you could get lucky.

cp-line

WHEN TO SEE IT

In New Zealand, the shower will reach a peak in the early morning of Thursday, April 23 according to Time and Date, but still able to be seen for a day or two on either side. The best time to catch an eyeful is just before dawn after the moon has set.

At that time, you'll be in the running to see meteors moving at about 177,000 kilometres per hour, shining extraordinarily brightly and leaving a long wake. The shower's cause is, essentially, the Earth getting in the comet's way, causing stardust to fry up in the atmosphere.

cp-line

HOW TO SEE IT

Usually, when a meteor shower lights up the sky, we'd advise city-dwellers to get as far away from light pollution as possible to get the best view. That's not possible given the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, so you'd best take a gander from your backyard or balcony.

To help locate them, we recommend downloading the Sky Map app — it's the easiest way to navigate the night sky (and is a lot of fun to use even on a non-meteor shower night). If you're more into specifics, Time and Date also have a table that shows the direction and altitude of the Lyrids. They've been updating this daily.

Typically, clouds and showers are predicted for next week which could present problems in terms of visibility. But, there'll be little moon to spoil it, so hopefully the weatherman is wrong.

Top image: Mike Lewinski via Flickr.

Published on April 17, 2020 by Concrete Playground

  •   shares
      shares
  • VIEW COMMENTS
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter