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2014 Lyrids meteor shower

Illustration image

Picture of the Earth and a Lyrid meteor taken by astronaut Don Pettit.

NASA/MSFC/MEO

In 2014, the Lyrids are expected to peak on April 23. A waning gibbous moon will make it harder for observers to view the shower.

The Lyrids meteor shower are usually active between April 16 and April 25 every year. It tends to peak around April 22 or April 23.

Considered to be the oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids are named after constellation Lyra. The radiant point of the shower - the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from - lies near the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky during this time of the year.

The Lyrids are associated with comet Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun.


Where to view

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere are best located to view the Lyrids.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest lying down on the ground looking towards the East and look at the sky above you to view the Lyrids.

When to view

The best time to view the Lyrids is after nightfall and before dawn.

How to view

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Lyrids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.

Location in the sky

The Lyrids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Apr 22, 2015, table below is for that date:
Lyrids meteor shower for New York (Night between Apr 22 and Apr 23)
TimeAzimuth/
Direction
Altitude
Wed 9:00 PM47°Northeast1.7°
Wed 10:00 PM56°East-northeast10.5°
Wed 11:00 PM65°East-northeast20.3°
Midnight Wed-Thu73°East-northeast30.9°
Thu 1:00 AM80°East42.0°
Thu 2:00 AM89°East53.3°
Thu 3:00 AM101°East64.7°
Thu 4:00 AM122°East-southeast75.4°
Thu 5:00 AM182°South81.3°
Note: times are for Apr 22, 2015.
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