Lyrid meteor shower 2021: When, where to see it

Caption
Lyrid Meteor Shower 2021to peak April 22.The first meteor shower of spring that is visible around the world will peak Thursday, April 22.Between midnight and 5 a.m. local time will be the best viewing times, according to the American Meteor Society.The Lyrid meteor shower typically has between 10 and 20 meteors per hour during its peak.The spring meteor shower is named after the Lyra constellation.It is one of the oldest known meteor showers,with records that date back 2,700 years, according to EarthSky.It is one of the oldest known meteor showerswith records that date back 2,700 years, according to EarthSky

It’s been four months since we’ve had a meteor shower, but it’s time to prepare for the annual Lyrid show.

The second meteor shower of the year, the Lyrids are active each year from about April 16 to 25. This year, the shower is expected to pick up steam beginning late April 19, probably peaking in the predawn hours on Thursday, April 22, according to EarthSky. The following morning might be good, too

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Meteoroid, meteor or meteorite?

Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, told Space.com that a meteoroid is essentially space debris. For example, the "crumbs" left behind from a comet's trail are meteoroids.

These “crumbs” can also be left behind by asteroids, such as the 3200 Phaethon.

Once the meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere, they become meteors (or shooting stars). Though most meteors disintegrate before hitting the ground, meteors that do strike the surface of the planet are called meteorites, Cooke said.

What are the Lyrids?

The Lyrids are the dust trail of Comet Thatcher, which orbits the sun every 415 years (it won’t be back until 2276). Although the comet won’t be seen in our lifetime, the debris left in its wake — the Lyrid shower— appears every year as the Earth crosses the comet’s path. That’s why they are seen at about the same time every year.

Where to look

The point at which the meteors originate, called the radiant, will be in the constellation Lyra. Lyra, for which the meteor shower is named, will be high in the sky to the northeast of Vega.

Space.com recommends not directly looking toward the radiant, however, because you might miss the meteors with the longest tails.

The moon will be waxing during the best time for seeing the Lyrids in 2021 — beginning late at night April 19 —through the morning of April 23. When the moon is waxing, it’s out longer after dark with each passing day.

When to see them

The Lyrid meteor shower is usually active between April 16 and 25 every year. It tends to peak around April 22 or 23. For the position of the Lyrids radiant each night, timeanddate.com has an interactive meteor shower sky map you can check out.

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How to watch the meteor shower

Clear skies are essential for prime meteor shower viewing. Skyglow, the light pollution caused by localized street lights, will block out the stars and negatively affect your viewing experience, so head somewhere far from city lights.

Georgians can head to anywhere in North Georgia, including Hiawassee and Young Harris. Popular stargazing parks include Hard Labor Creek State Park, Black Rock Mountain State Park, Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center and Deerlick Astronomy Village.

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Or you can head to Stephen C. Foster State Park, one of Georgia’s most remote state parks in the Okefenokee Swamp, which was named one of the best spots in the world for stargazing.

When you’re outside in the dark, lie flat on your back with your feet facing south and look up at the vast sky. Give yourself 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the environment.

Be sure to bring warm clothing, a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair, and leave your telescope at home.

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