Observing the Lyrid meteor shower, whose peak can be seen for three nights, starting on April 21, will be possible only at dawn, because at other times it will be hampered by the too bright moon. This was reported by the press service of the Moscow Planetarium.
The maximum speed of meteors during the peak (on the night of April 21, 22 and 23) is predicted to be about 18 meteors per hour.
“This time the conditions for observing meteors are not entirely favorable: the moon is close to the full moon, which will occur on April 27th. It drops below the horizon after 4am, when the Lyrid radiant is high above the southern horizon. Under such conditions, with a clear sky, bright Lyrid meteors can be observed at dawn, ”TASS quoted a planetarium representative as saying.
The name of the meteor shower comes from the fact that its radiant is located near the constellation Lyra. It is observed annually from April 14 to April 30.
As previously explained by scientists from the Institute of Applied Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the meteorites of the stream are the remnants of a comet’s tail, rushing at a tremendous speed of 10–20 km / s. The result is friction of enormous power, which causes the meteorites to burn out.
The Lyrid meteor shower is a trail from Comet C / 1861 G1 Thatcher, which orbits the Sun once in 415 years. It passes through the non-setting constellation Lyra, so it can be observed with the naked eye throughout the night.
The history of his observations is more than 2.5 thousand years old. Starfall was once much more active. So, on April 20, 1803, over the east coast of the United States, the number of shooting stars reached 700 per hour.
Astronomers note that the next time the comet will return only in the XXIII century.