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A composite of 33 Lyrid meteors captured by the UK Meteor Network cameras in 2012. Credit: @UKMeteorNetwork. A composite of 33 Lyrid meteors captured by the UK Meteor Network cameras in 2012. Credit: @UKMeteorNetwork.
The Lyrid meteor shower typically produces a maximum rate of 10-20 meteors per hour, although outbursts topping over a hundred per hour have been observed on occasion. The radiant, or the direction that the meteors seem to originate from, lies at right ascension 18 hours and 8 minutes and declination +32.9 degrees north. This is just about eight degrees to the southwest of the bright star Vega, which is the brightest star in the constellation of Lyra the Lyre, which also gives the Lyrids its name.
The source of the Lyrids was tracked down in the late 1860s by mathematician Johann Gottfried Galle to Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, the path of which came within 0.02 Astronomical Units (A.U.s) of the Earth’s orbit on April 20th, 1861, just six weeks before the comet reached perihelion. Comet G1 Thatcher is on a 415 year orbit and won’t return to the inner solar system until the late 23rd century.
The activity of the Lyrids typically spans April 16th to the 25th, with a short 24 hour peak above a ZHR of 10 on April 22nd-23rd.
Now for the bad news. This year finds the light-polluting Moon in nearly its worst location possible for a meteor shower. Remember this week’s total lunar eclipse? Well, the Moon is now waning gibbous and will reach last quarter phase at 7:52 UT/3:52 AM EDT on April 22nd, and will thus be rising at local midnight and be high in the sky towards dawn. The Lyrid radiant rises at 9:00 PM this week for observers around 40 degrees north and rides highest at 6:00 AM local, about 45 minutes before sunrise.
originally posted by: Jennyfrenzy
a reply to: rickymouse
That's a lot of snow! It's typically foggy at night where I live. If the weather holds up ill head over to a local park with my telescope and binoculars. Love star gazing
August 10-13, 2014 before dawn, the Perseids The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, though it’ll have to contend with a bright waning gibbous moon this year. The shower builds gradually to a peak, often produces 50 to 100 meteors per hour in a dark sky at the peak, and, for us in the Northern Hemisphere, this shower comes when the weather is warm.
The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky.
They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains. Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower (above) to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2014, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with major interference from the waning gibbous moon. Give it a try anyway, as some bright Perseids will probably be able to overcome the moon-drenched skies. Best mornings to look: August 11, 12 and 13.