When and where to watch Lyrid meteor shower: Experts expect 15 to 18 meteors per hour
Just like lone meteors, meteor showers mark the calendar in an uneven pattern all round the year. Luckily, the current meteor 'drought' is nearing its end. The Lyrid meteor shower will peak on the night of April 22, wrapping up a long stretch without an impactful meteor shower and bringing us closer to the bigger showers of the year.
The Lyrids are not really explosive like the Perseids or Geminids, but they clearly manage to bring back meteor showers on the calendar. Here is all you need to know about when to go out and see the Lyrid meteor shower.
How to see the Lyrid meteor shower?
In 2022, the Lyrids are likely to bring over a dozen meteors per hour at its peak. Since April 22 is a close to full moon day, it may affect the viewing conditions and make it not so perfect for star gazers. That said, just after midnight, there would be a window during which the moon would not be up. This short duration would be the best time to view the shower with little to no interference from the moon.
EarthSky has suggested that people are likely to spot 10 to 15 meteors per hour streak through the sky when the Lyrids hit their peak. Space.com has predicted an even higher number — at over 18 meteors at the peak hour.
This goes without saying, but you will not be seeing a lot of aesthetic views in case you're in an urban area. The city pollution will obscure stars and meteors. Add the moon's light to interfere with this and the visibility would reduce further.
What are the reasons behind the Lyrid meteor shower?
The annual Lyrid shower happens when we blow through the dust from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. Most meteor showers are caused by the Earth plowing through the debris left behind by a comet. As reported by NASA, Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers. Humans have observed them for over 2700 years.
In case you cannot make extensive skygazing plans on the night of April 27, you can still spot a few meteors if you take a peek at the sky during the darkest hour. But if you want to indulge in a fun astronomy night, get comfy on an outdoor recliner, and don't forget to wish upon a star.