Meteor shower fanatics and space aficionados, pay attention. A meteor shower is coming your way.
The Lyrid meteor shower, also known as April Lyrids which happens from April 16 to April 26 each year, is expected to make a show starting on Thursday at 5.30am.
According to Arvind Paranjpye, Director of Nehru Planetarium, one can witness one meteor every five minutes which comes randomly from whatever course in the sky. He added that this annual April shower’s radiant or point in the sky from which the meteors appear to originate comes from the constellation of Alpha Lyra (proper name: Vega) and under absolute ideal dark and clear sky conditions, one can view as many as 18 as minimum and 90 maximum sightings in one hour.
However, for maximum viewing pleasure, stargazing aficionados are advised to drive 50 km away from the city – where no distracting building, electric sign boards and street lights to mar the night skies. Of course, moonless nights will also provide the best viewing opportunity if one is in the rural areas to view the heavenly spectacle. Experts say during the event’s peak, one may witness 18 to 90 meteors “falling” from the sky.
Meteor showers or more commonly known as shooting stars are mostly caused by trails of fragments and dusts left by a passing comet. For April Lyrids, these meteor showers are caused by the Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. They come out in the night sky as little sudden streaks of light, like bright stars falling down from the sky. Some lyrids are brighter, and these meteors are known as Lyrid fireballs. April Lyrids are known to have the strongest annual meteor shower because the Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher has comparatively shorter orbital period of 415 years than other intermediary long period comets. For around 2600 years, the April Lyrids have been observed to make its yearly appearances. They usually peak around April 22 each year.