Everything you need to know about Lyrids

21.04.2022, time 21:1522.04.2022, 22:02

The 2022 meteor season has begun! As of April 15, Lyrid stars are visible in the sky. Each of them marks the end of the “dry magic of the shooting star” between January and April. On Friday night April 22nd on Saturday the meteor shower will reach its peak.

Up to more than 20 stars per hour

The largest number of falling stars is expected at 4 am: then 14 to 23 falling stars can be discerned. But even before that, for example, at night from Thursday to Friday, the chances of casting stars are good.

Long-exposure image of the Lyrids 2020 shower. Image: shutterstock

In a few years, the Lyrids meteor shower was disproportionately more active. In 1982, for example, there was an “explosion” when up to 90 meteors per hour were recorded. According to EarthSky, such a future release is not expected until 2042.

Bright moon and (maybe) some clouds

Small shock absorber this Friday: The moon is currently falling, but still 67 percent full. As a result, it will shine relatively brightly and make it difficult to detect falling stars. However, the moon will make its way over the horizon only on Friday at 2:36 am (in Zurich). Although the shower peak arrives around 4am, midnight and moonrise are the best times to see the stars in the shoot.

If you still want to see the sky in the moonlight, it is best to do so in the moonlight, for example in front of a building that covers the moon or at the edge of a forest. Weather can also be another damage: Some cumulative clouds are expected, but so far mostly near the Alps.

What about desire now?

How did the showers of the shooting stars get their names?

Lyrids appear around this time each year when the Earth orbits near the debris of Thatcher comet. “Thatcher” was discovered in April 1861 when it was close to Earth orbit. The comet revolves around the sun, but it takes exactly 417 years to make a full orbit – so it will take a long time before we can see it from Earth. Since the Lyrids are formed from the remnants of the comet, “Thatcher” is also called “their mother body”.

Shooting Star Showers take their name from the constellation in which they are located. The point in the night sky from which a meteor shower seems to start is called radiant. For example, the radiator for the Perseids is in the constellation Perseus.

Lyrids have their radiation in the constellation of Lyra, also known as “Lyra” in Latin. This year, around midnight, the Lirida radiator will rise in the northeast. Incidentally, one of the brightest stars in the sky also belongs to the constellation of the lyre: «Vega».

The brightest star in Lyra constellation is Vega.  It is one of the brightest in the entire night sky.

The brightest star in Lyra constellation is Vega. It is one of the brightest in the entire night sky.Image: shutterstock

Meteor? meteoroid? meteorites?

Shooting stars are usually small particles, often even smaller than a grain of sand. However, since they hit the earth’s atmosphere at an extremely high speed of up to 70 kilometers per second (!), The air ionizes (electrically charged) when it burns. The glow that is created is called a meteor. This should not be confused with the meteoroid – often also the “meteoride” – the particle that causes the falling star.

Last but not least are meteorites: These are the parts (usually the largest “particles”) that hit the earth from the atmosphere, but do not burn completely when they hit the earth, but actually go down to earth. (lak)

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