Lyrids Meteor Showers April 16-25, peaking on April 22/23

Lyrids Meteors Showers April 23 2017, around 3.40 am, looking North, Eastern Australia

Lyrids Meteors Showers April 23 2017, around 3.40 am, looking North, Eastern Australia

The sky is getting clearer while the nights are getting colder in our Southern latitudes. Great times to observe the stars and planets. The yearly meteor showers located near the Lyrid constellation reach their peak on April 22 and 23, from about 10 pm to the pre-dawn hours, the latter better than the earlier time, looking northward from Australia.

This time around it could be an interesting show even for us in the Southern Hemisphere, despite the Northern location of the Lyre constellation. Fifteen to twenty meteors per hour are expected. The bright star Vega could be used as a sign post for finding the showers’ location.

According to the Australian Geographic website: “The Lyrids have the longest recorded history of any meteor shower, with observations dating back to at least 687BC…. this shower… letting us see pieces of a comet (Comet C/1861 G1, Thatcher) that currently lies more than a hundred billion kilometers distant.”

Happy sky watching…

Star over Wollumbin, from April 21

APRIL 21: we will have to get up very early this morning to witness the beautiful alignment of Venus, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter. Uranus is also in their midst, but invisible to the naked eye; while Mercury, coming out of Retrogradation on April 23, will also be very difficult to spot for the moment.

If you miss the spectacle today, no to worry it will reappear every morning until the closest visual alignment will take place between April 13 and 20, continuing until the end of May.

This is a great opportunity to observe Venus slowly shifting from West to East toward the other slower moving planets.

The sky-scape below was generated, using Stellarium, on April 21, around 5.30 am, looking East.

Click to enlarge


Lyra Constellation

On April 21 to 23 we may also have the chance to experience the yearly Lyrids’ meteors shower, not one of the most spectacular meteors spectacle, but usually reliable, with 15 to 20 meteors shooting every hour.

To spot the shower we’ll need to look toward Lyra constellation in the North-East. The best time will be between midnight and one am, away from city lights.

The sparks of this shower were released by the comet Thatcher that was discovered in 1861, but the meteors themselves have been observed for thousands of years.

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