Look up! There's a magical meteor shower coming our way
Hope you guys are early risers, because there’s a meteor shower streaking past Earth for the next few days and we have the lowdown on when to see it! From April 16th through the 25th, the annual Lyrid meteor shower will be visible without a telescope thanks to the crescent moon that happens to be taking place at the same time.
“This year the moon will be a waxing crescent only 1/15th the brightness of a full moon, and it will set early, allowing excellent dark sky conditions for this shower,” Bob Berman, an astronomer with the online observatory Slooh, said in a statement.
The Lyrid meteor shower is caused by leftover debris from Comet C/1861 G1. Each year at about this time in April, the Earth orbits through this remaining ice and dust. This very same meteor shower has been happening for centuries (FYI, the Lyrid meteor shower of 1803 was apparently spectacular.) The bits of debris are pulled into Earth’s atmosphere by gravity, and the friction caused by the debris coming in contact with molecules in the atmosphere at an insane speed of thousands of miles per hour causes the momentary streak of light that passes across the sky and makes for a seriously beautiful shower of light, that will look a little something like this:
So when can you see these streaks? Views will be best in Europe but the meteor shower will be visible all over the world. And set the alarm clock because you’ll have to be up before dawn to get the best viewing. Wednesday and Thursday mornings should be the best time to catch a peek at the meteors. Or, if you aren’t too worried about seeing it in real time but want to check it out, Slooh has a live feed that starts Wednesday at 8pm EST.
Happy star gazing!