The Lyrid Meteor Shower is expected worldwide on April 21 night and will continue until the early hours of April 22. The meteor shower arises from the remains of the C/1861 Thatcher comet, and is a yearly celestial phenomenon set around April. This year, the meteor shower will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere.
Lyrid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Lyra, as it appears to originate from Lyra. This constellation is home to the bright star Vega, and is set very close to the Pole Star. During the shower, stargazers should not look in Lyra’s direction, as meteors can be expected from all directions. At the peak of this shower, viewers can expect to find about 20 meteors shooting through the sky every hour. They are estimated to move across space at speeds of 30 miles per second (50 kilometers per second), of which 20-25 per cent also leave trails. These meteors can heat up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1648.9 degrees Celsius), and their tails consist of ionised gas.
Indian viewers will get the best glimpse of the Lyrid meteor shower after the moon sets, which is estimated between 11:15 pm on April 21 in Guwahati, and 00.30 am on April 22 in Ahmedabad. It can be best viewed outside of city limits, far away from habitable zones. Unlike eclipses, stargazers can enjoy the meteor shower without a visual aid. Even as the remnants will dazzle across the night sky, the comet of their origin, C/1861 Thatcher, will not be in sight before 2276, as it takes its 415-year-long orbit around the Sun.
The Lyrid meteor shower has been known to spring surprises, so stargazers might witness more meteors than estimated. Two such recent occurrences during the Lyrid meteor shower were recorded in 1922 and 1980. While the 1922 meteor shower saw 96 meteors per hour at its peak, The Lyrid meteor shower reached a peak of 80 meteors per hour in 1980. Yet, there is no cause for worry, as the meteors won’t be big enough to strike the Earth’s surface, and will burn up in the atmosphere.
As per Space.com, the Lyrid meteor shower indicates the start of the meteor shower calendar. The meteor showers to follow include the Eta Aquarids, expected to be visible between May 6 and 7, followed by the Perseids, that has been estimated to appear on August 13. Stargazers can also expect the Orionid meteor shower during October, and the Leonid meteor shower in November.
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