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Lyrids Star Rain: Here’s How To Enjoy The Show

Twenty meteors can be observed per hour (© Lescure Jean-Rémy / Adobestock)

Look up and enjoy the sky. barrage of stars It is expected in this month of April 2022, with a peak expected on Friday 22nd. This is to wanta meteor swarm which radiation falls In the constellation Lyra.

20 per hour

To watch this show, you don’t need binoculars or telescope, just your eyes will suffice, he says Gilles Dawidowicz, Secretary General of the SAF (French Astronomical Society). “You should be away from the light pollution of cities and look very low on the horizon, towards the north and northeast.”

The weather must also be good. Cloudy spells are expected by the end of the week, but a few clouds could spoil the party.

If we can never predict the exact number of orbs that will light up the sky, then Lyrids generally produce Twenty meteors per hour. For comparison, during the Perseids, in August, you can see up to a hundred per hour.

Dust from the comet

But where do these meteorites come from? In the case of the Lyrids, it comes from Comet C/1861 G1, discovered by the American amateur astronomer Albert Thatcher in 1861 (hence its name).

A comet consists of ice crystals, earth and carbonaceous substances … When it passes close to the sun, under the influence of heat and radiation, it throws off gases. Sublimation material (transition from solid to gas without passing through the liquid state, editor’s note). This is what produces the famous tail that we know so well that can reach several tens of millions of kilometers.

Jill DawidowiczSecretary General of the Sudanese Armed Forces
Comet C / 2020 F3 tail in 2020
Comet C / 2020 F3 tail in 2020 (© Leonid Tate / Adobestock)

So meteor swarms are the dust left behind by this tail. When the Earth meets its orbit, always at the same time each year, it penetrates the upper atmosphere at several tens of kilometers per second. Under the influence of friction, they disintegrate, leaving a luminous trace for a few seconds. This is what creates the massive star.

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The next swarm, the Eta Aquarids, is Due in early May.

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