An outstanding exhibit of shooting starts is expected to take place tonight as the Lyrids Meteor Shower spikes. The Lyrids Meteor Shower, triggered by the debris left from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, can be seen every year in mid-April as Earth‘s orbit takes it through the stream of dust and small rocks left behind by the traveling comet.
This year, the meteor shower will spike on April 20th to 21st, offering stargazers an opportunity to step outside from the lockdown to admire the event. Lyrids is one of the most important meteor showers, with shooting stars set to be seen up to 20 times per hour.
Look for Vega
The shooting stars event starts only after the radiant rises in the sky, so those who want to enjoy the meteor shower should check a few times before heading out. An astronomer‘s useful tip to look for the the luminous Lyra constellation is to seek out Vega, the brightest star in the cluster.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich said: “The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the April 22nd (the night of the April 21st). Wait until after midnight when the radiant point, in the constellation of Lyra, will have risen in the East.”
Fortunately, the skies are expected to be clear tonight, which offers an ideal chance to catch a glimpse of the amazing spectacle. Asteroids and meteors generate a bright explosion of fire the moment they clash with Earth’s atmosphere as it is the first time they encounter resistance. The air leaks into the pores of the rock and cracks it, breaking it apart and making it explode.
“Fireballs are meteors that appear brighter than normal. Due to the velocity at which they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, fragments larger than one millimeter have the capability to produce a bright flash as they streak through the heavens above. These bright meteors are what we call fireballs, and they often strike fear and awe for those who witness them,” the International Meteor Organization explained.