Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2018

20/04/2018Written by Tamela Maciel

In 2018, the Lyrids peak in the pre-dawn morning of 22 April, with 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Stay tuned this weekend – the Lyrids are coming to a night sky near you. In 2018, peak activity occurs in the pre-dawn morning of 22 April – Earth Day!

The Lyrids are an average meteor shower expected to produce about 10-20 meteors an hour on a dark night. But it’s still worth checking out! In the past the Lyrids have unexpectedly created large bursts of up to 100 meteors per hour.

These meteors come from a stream of dust grains left behind by Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). Comet Thatcher has a 415-year orbit around the Sun and was last seen near the Earth in 1861. Despite this long orbit of the comet itself, the debris path is constant and each year the Earth passes through the left-behind bits. As these dust grains hit Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, they heat up and disintegrate in flashes of light that we call meteors.

This year, a first quarter Moon will set just after midnight, leaving dark skies perfect for meteor showers.

How to Watch

Credit: Stellarium

Credit: Stellarium

The Lyrids are named after the constellation Lyra (in the Summer Triangle) as this is the direction from which they appear to originate. While the meteors appear to originate from Lyra, they are best seen 30 degrees away from origin, so be sure to keep careful watch across the whole sky.

To view the Lyrids from the UK, head outside anytime after midnight on the night of the 21-22 April.

Look up, keep an eye on the whole sky, and find a location as far from city lights as you can!

If it’s cloudy on the 22nd, you can always try your luck on a nearby day. The Lyrids are active from 16-25 April.

Credit: Stellarium

Meteor Infographic

Meteor Infographic
Credit: National Space Centre

Download our National Space Centre Meteor Shower Guide to make sure you are fully prepared to watch the Lyrids!

Other upcoming meteor showers for 2018 include:

Eta Aquarids

Comet of Origin: Halley
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Peak Activity: 5 May 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 20-60 meteors per hour
Notes: Strong moonlight may interfere this year.

Delta Aquarids

Comet of Origin: 96P/Machholz
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Peak Activity: 27-30 July 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 20 meteors per hour
Notes: Strong moonlight may interfere this year.

Perseids

Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Perseus
Peak Activity: 12-13 Aug 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 90 meteors per hour
Notes: Moon sets early, leaving perfect dark skies

Orionids

Comet of Origin: Halley
Radiant: constellation Orion
Peak Activity: 21 Oct 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour
Notes: Strong moonlight may interfere this year.

Taurids

Comet of Origin: 2P/Encke
Radiant: constellation Taurus
Peak Activity: 4-5 Nov 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour

Leonids

Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Leo
Peak Activity: 17-18 Nov 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour
Notes: Strong moonlight may interfere this year.

Geminids

Comet of Origin: 3200 Phaethon
Radiant: constellation Gemini
Peak Activity: Dec. 13-14, 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 120 meteors per hour

Ursids

Comet of Origin: 8P/Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Ursa Minor
Peak Activity: Dec. 21-22, 2018
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10 meteors per hour
Notes: Strong moonlight may interfere this year.

 

Clear skies!