Experience the Lyrid Meteor Shower in April
April is an exciting month for astronomy enthusiasts as it offers a rare opportunity to witness incredible astronomical displays. Among them is the Lyrid or Lyrid meteor shower, which is generated from the collision of dust particles, called meteoroids, from Comet Thatcher with the Earth’s atmosphere.
This rain owes its name to the constellation Lyra, near the star Vega, which is one of the brightest stars in the sky above the northeast. It is one of the oldest rains, and records indicate that the first sighting of these meteorites was in China 2,700 years ago.
When and Where to See the Lyrid Meteor Shower
This shower is an astronomical event that takes place over several days in April each year. In 2023, NASA predicts that it will be visible in clear skies between April 20 and 30, shortly after the Moon rises. Experts recommend the best time to see the meteorites is an hour before midnight.
“The Lyrids peak this year in the predawn hours of April 23, although you should also see some shooting stars in the morning before and after the peak”, explains the space agency. During the peak, every hour, there are between 10 and 20 meteors that look like shooting stars quite fast.
How to Observe the Lyrid Meteor Shower
It is estimated that each meteor travels at a speed greater than 30 miles per second, or 49 kilometers per second. Due to their speed, experts recommend using specialized binoculars or telescopes to clearly see them soaring through dark skies.
The best places to appreciate the spectacle are in places without light pollution, such as a Dark Sky Reserve or areas where artificial lights aren’t so intense. So, plan your visit to a location where the skies are clear and the stars are bright, grab your binoculars, and experience the fascinating Lyrid meteor shower.