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This Year’s Lyrids Will Not Disappoint

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This Year’s Lyrids Will Not Disappoint

If the overnight hours are clear late Friday night, April 21, into the early morning hours of Saturday, April 22, observers may expect to see a fine display of “shooting stars” with the arrival of the Lyrid Meteor Shower.

Up to 10 meteors per hour radiate from a spot near the brilliant bluish star Vega. Viewing will improve as the radiant rises from low in the northeast at the end of twilight to a point high overhead in the early morning hours.  The 25-day old waning crescent moon will not rise until after 4 a.m., thus assuring dark skies most of the night. The peak usually lasts for just a few hours; its predicted time this year is 12h UT, good-to-excellent for North America.

The shower’s maximum rate has ranged from 5 to 90 meteors per hour (as seen under ideal conditions) during the last 40 years. The shower remains above a quarter of its peak strength from April 19th to the 24th.  These meteors are actually the dross left behind by Comet Thatcher, which visited the inner solar system in 1861; don’t wait up for it — it’s not due to return until sometime in the late 23rd century.

Love Astronomy?
Do you have a pair of  Farmers’ Almanac solar eclipse glasses for this summer’s Great American Solar Eclipse? Grab a pair from our online store before they’re gone.

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