Lyrid meteor shower: NASA's all-sky cameras capture fireballs
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The Lyrids meteor shower is one of the most prolific shooting stars display that the solar system has to offer. They occur when Earth passes through the debris from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.
When it does, Earth gets hit by tiny specs of ice and rock which have fallen from the comet and burn up in our planet’s atmosphere.
As they do, they reach speeds of around 50 kilometres per second and exceed temperatures of 1,600 degrees Celsius.
The event occurs every April, allowing for around 18 shooting stars per hour.
Skywatchers have been looking out for the event for 2,700 years.
Can I still see the Lyrids meteor shower?
For those hoping to catch the peak of the shower, unfortunately, your luck is over for another year.
The Lyrids were at their most active on the night of April 21 and in the very early hours of April 22.
However, the debris field which Earth is currently moving through is vast.
In fact, the shooting stars from the Lyrids technically began on April 13.
At that point, Earth would have been hit by a few meteors as it moved further into the melee of the debris.
The meteors would have slowly picked up until Earth was right in the middle of the debris field on April 21.
Now, the planet is slowly moving away from the centre.
Those looking to see some shooting stars from comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher will still be able to.
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But the sightings will be becoming more and more sparse until April 29, when Earth exits the debris field for another year.
To see the Lyrids, look for the constellation Lyra, meaning Lyra is the radiant.
In Lyra is the bright star Vega, which can be easily spotted.
According to Earthsky, the best way to see Vega is to look northeast in the night’s sky.
Vega is the bluish star above the northeast horizon.
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