Lyrid Meteor Shower 2020

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2020

15/04/2020Written by Malika Andress

In 2020, the Lyrids peak in the pre-dawn morning of 22 April, with 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

Book online now and upgrade to a free annual pass

Book
mascot Telescope Right

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Lyrid Meteor Shower

The Lyrids are coming to a night sky near you. In 2020, they will peak late on the 21st and early on the morning of the 22nd (which is also 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 waning crescent Moon will be rising just before 05:00, 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 and keep an eye on the whole sky!

If it’s cloudy on the 21st, you can always try your luck on a nearby day. The Lyrids are active from 13-29 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 2020 include:

Eta Aquarids
Comet of Origin: Halley
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Peak Activity: 5/6 May 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 35 meteors per hour

Delta Aquarids
Comet of Origin: 96P/Machholz
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Peak Activity: 29/30 July 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 20 meteors per hour

Perseids
Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Perseus
Peak Activity: 12/13 Aug 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 90 meteors per hour

Orionids
Comet of Origin: Halley
Radiant: constellation Orion
Peak Activity: 21/22 Oct 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour

Taurids
Comet of Origin: 2P/Encke
Radiant: constellation Taurus
Peak Activity: 10/11 Nov 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour

Leonids
Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Leo
Peak Activity: 16/17 Nov 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10-20 meteors per hour

Geminids
Comet of Origin: 3200 Phaethon
Radiant: constellation Gemini
Peak Activity: 14/15 Dec 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 120 meteors per hour

Ursids
Comet of Origin: 8P/Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Ursa Minor
Peak Activity: 21/22 December 2020
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 10 meteors per hour