New Delhi: A spectacular celestial show is in the offing as scientists expect the Lyrid meteor shower to peak shortly before dawn on April 22.
Up to 20 meteors per hour will likely be visible overnight on April 21-22, as per NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. To view the Lyrid shower, observers should find an area away from light pollution on the night of April 21.
As the waxing Moon may interfere with visibility, the best time to view it is the few hours after the Moon sets. Special equipment like telescopes and binoculars are not necessary to view the Lyrid meteor shower, which is safe to view with naked eyes, IANS reported.
According to Jet Propulsion Laboratory, "Lyrid meteors are active from April 14 through the 30th. They peak on the 22nd. In the early morning sky, a patient observer will see up to more than a dozen meteors per hour in this medium-strength shower, with 18 meteors per hour calculated for the peak. US observers should see good rates on the nights before and after this peak. A bright first quarter moon plays havoc with sky conditions, marring most of the typically faint Lyrid meteors. But Lyra will be high overhead after the moon sets at midnight, so that's the best time to look for Lyrids."
The Lyrids are classified as a medium-strength shower. To quote NASA - "Lyrids are pieces of debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have been observed for more than 2,600 years. In mid-April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris from the comet, which causes the Lyrid meteor shower. You can tell if a meteor belongs to a particular shower by tracing back its path to see if it originates near a specific point in the sky, called the radiant. The constellation in which the radiant is located gives the shower its name, and in this case, Lyrids appear to come from a point in the constellation Lyra."