The Lyrid Meteor Shower – so called as the radiant (from where the meteor trails seem to radiate from) lies in the constellation Lyra peaks in the early morning of the 22nd April and is a reliable, though not spectacular, shower with perhaps up to 15 meteors seen per hour. Observations of the Lyrid meteors have been made for at least 2,600 years! Happily, this year the peak of activity is only one day after the new moon so there will be no moonlight to hinder our observations should it be clear. Observations made after 1 am are expected to be the most productive. The dust particles that cause the shower have been released by the comet Thatcher, discovered in 1861. Occasionally we pass through a dense clump of particles as happened in 1982 when over 90 meteors were seen per hour. So its worth waking up to have a look if around 1-2 am should it be expected to be clear. Look to the East as shown in the chart.
Reprinted with the permission of
Gresham Professor of Astronomy
Professor Ian Morison Lectures can be viewed at
Tags: Meteor Shower