Take a moment this April to step outside and marvel at the night sky. Very soon, it will be illuminated with the glow of up to 18 meteors an hour. The Lyrid Meteor Shower is coming back later this month, and is expected to reach its peak between Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23.
What is the Lyrid Meteor Shower?
This famous meteor shower occurs every year in April, at roughly the same time each month. The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers in history, with reports going as far back as ancient China in 687 BC.
These meteors, named after the Lyra constellation, are the debris of Comet Thatcher. This comet takes around 415 years to orbit the sun, and last reached perihelion, or its closest point to the sun, in 1861. So, we won’t see Comet Thatcher from Earth in our lifetime.
Thankfully, the Lyrids are an annual occurrence. They should be active between Friday April 14 and Sunday April 30. In Melbourne, their activity should peak on the night between Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23. Expect up to 18 meteors per hour.
To see the Lyrids, check out Time and Date for updated times and tips. You can also use their Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to get your bearings.
Then, rug up with a jacket, and try to find a quiet spot with low light pollution in the wee hours of the morning. You can use this light pollution map for assistance. Remember to give your eyes around 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. After that, all you can do is wait, and hope for clear skies.