This year’s spring really has a lot to look forward to when it comes to astronomy events taking place in April. Aside from the Jupiter triangle, this weekend, stargazers are going to be able to enjoy the sighting of one of the oldest meteor showers recorded. Here’s what to know before you watch the Lyrid meteor shower.
“The Lyrid meteor shower will be the first significant meteor shower in a few months,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel was quoted by the same site, noting that it will be the best display since January.
Stargazers can take out their binoculars and go to places without light pollution on Saturday night, April 21, and enjoy the view until the early morning of Sunday, April 22. The site also notes that tonight (Friday) amateur astronomers who want to see the shower will be able to see some meteors before the shower peaks, as well as the night after the meteor shower peaks.
It will be easy to watch the Lyrid meteor shower because the Lyrid meteor shower displays quite bright meteors and, although recommended for better viewing, won’t require using binoculars or a telescope.
“The shower will be best viewed after midnight when the radiant is highest in the sky.” Samuhel said.
As Accuweather explains, the radiant point in the sky is an area from which the meteors are coming from during the shower. This weekend’s Lyrid Meteor shower has a radiant point east-northeast close to the Lyra constellation, which inspired astronomers to name the shower the Lyrids. The site adds that the shower will be visible coming from all areas of the sky, which will make it easier for viewers to watch the Lyrid Meteor shower.
“Lay back and get as much of the sky in your view as possible, and just wait,” Samuhel said.
There is also a possibility for some viewers to see a few fireballs or quite bright meteors that can result in the entire sky being lit up for a few seconds. People who might find this particular spectacle interesting should head to darker areas and get out of the city and in that way escape the light pollution.
“The moon will set around midnight on the peak night, making viewing conditions much better during the overnight hours,” Samuhel said.
Those that worry about the weather conditions for the meteor shower can rest assured that most of the northeastern and southwestern U.S. night skies will be clear, ensuring flawless viewing conditions, although there is a chance for clouds to spread across the central U.S. covering the nation’s heartland and parts of the Appalachians. The clouds might also reach the northwestern U.S. The clouds are expected to break apart in that area and allow viewers to enjoy the show as well. Nevertheless, if clouds cover too much of the sky, Accuweather encourages the viewers to give it another try on Sunday night, when the skies are expected to be cleared out.
The hourly rates of the meteors streaking can reach 10 to 20 meteors, which means skywatchers will need to be well-prepared to spot them. However, during the second half of the night, people will be able to see Mars and Saturn if they look towards the southeastern sky. If some viewers make it through the rest of the night or wake up really early, they could be lucky enough to spot Mercury above the eastern horizon.