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Lyrid Meteor Shower To Peak This Week

First Posted: Apr 18, 2017 04:53 AM EDT
Bright Leonid Fireball
This bright Leonid fireball is shown during the storm of 1966 in the kky above Wrightwood, California. (Image for representation only.)
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

For 10 days this April, shooting stars will grace the night sky as the Lyrid meteor shower will begin soon. The peak will start on April 21 through April 23 or April 24, and there seems to be a big chance that the Moon will not get in the way.

Better yet, the meteor shower, which is active every year beginning April 15 to April 25, is expected to peak longer. KVOA noted that the Lyrid's peak usually comes in bursts and lasts only a day. But this year, there will be more than that. It will last at least three nights with about 10-20 meteors an hour, with little to no light coming from the sliver of the Moon.

The shower radiates from the constellation Lyra the Harp, which is found in the northeastern part of the sky and near the brilliant star, Vega. However, there is no need to identify the Lyra constellation or the bright star Vega to view the shower.

Unlike eclipses, meteor showers would not be limited, nor will it come from only one direction. They are said to appear in all sections in the night sky.

EarthSky noted that the Lyrid meteors, which are present in the later part of April, come from the comet Thatcher. Every year, in the later part of April, the Earth crosses Thatcher's orbital path, which left behind litter that bombards the Earth's upper atmosphere at 177,00 kilometers an hour. The vaporized debris streaks are what is known as the Lyrid meteor shower.

Despite predicitons, showers are notorious for being unpredictable. Although an outburst is a possiblity, there was none predicted for this year, but that does not mean it will be any less interesting to watch.

Lyrid meteor showers are among the oldest known in history, with records going back for some 2,700 years. The ancient Chinese were said to have observed Lyrid meteors "falling like rain" in as early as 687 BC.

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