This Week in Astronomy with Dave Eicher


The April Lyrids are often a good shower, although the bright Moon makes this year’s edition less than ideal.

The Lyrid meteors peak this week — how many can you spot?

Meteor showers are produced when specks of debris left behind by comets burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. For the Lyrids, we have Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) to thank. Every April, when Earth plows into Thatcher’s debris trail, we get a shower of meteors, appearing to radiate from a point in Lyra the Harp.

The Lyrids are often a good shower and typically produce between five to 20 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, they coincide this year with a close-to-Full Moon, which may wash out faint meteors. But if you get away from city lights to a clear sky and stay up late — the best time to observe any meteor shower is after midnight — you should see some bright ones.

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