Shooting Stars Rain From Lyrids: Here’s How To Enjoy The Show

Twenty meteors can be seen per hour (© Lescure Jean-Remy / Adobestock)

Look up and admire the sky. shooting stars shower In this month of April 2022, a peak is expected to occur on Friday 22nd. these are lyridsA meteor swarm whose radiant is located In the constellation Lyra.

20 per hour

To watch this show, you don’t need binoculars or binoculars, only your eyes are enough, explains Gilles Davidovich, Secretary General of the SAF (Astronomical Society of France). “You have to stay away from the light pollution of cities and look far north, northeast on the horizon. ,

The weather should be good too. A cloudy sky is expected till the end of the week, but some clouds may spoil the party.

If we cannot estimate the exact number of celestial bodies that illuminate the sky, the Lyrids usually arise from Twenty shooting stars per hour. For comparison, during the Perseids, in August, you can see up to a hundred per hour.

dust from comets

But where do these meteors come from? In the case of the Lyrids, they come from comet C/1861 G1, which was discovered by American amateur astronomer Albert Thatcher in 1861 (hence its name).

The comet is made of ice, Earth, crystals of carbonaceous material … When it passes close to the Sun, under the influence of heat and radiation, it perishes. The material from which it is sublimated (from the solid state to the gaseous state without passing through the liquid state, editor’s note). It is this that produces the famous tail that we know well and which can reach several tens of millions of kilometres.

Gilles DavidowiczSAIF’s General Secretary
The tail of Comet C/2020 F3 in 2020
The tail of Comet C/2020 F3 in 2020 (© Leonid Tit / Adobestock)

The swarms of meteorites are therefore the dust left behind by this tail. When Earth meets its orbit, always at the same time every year, they enter the upper atmosphere at several tens of kilometers per second. Under the influence of friction, they disintegrate, leaving a bright mark for a few seconds. This is what makes a shooting star.

See also  Perseids: Rain of Shooting Stars

The next swarm, Eta Aquarids, is expected in early May.

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About the Author: Tad Fisher

Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

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