Annual Lyrid meteor shower is active from 16 to 25 April 2017 with the peak time on the morning of 22 April. With no interference by the Moon we should be able to see around 20 meteors per hour.
Lyrid meteor shower originates from dusty particles left by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have been observed for over 2,600 years. Sometimes; about every 60 years Lyrids experience an outburst. A heightened short period of activity reaching up to 700 meteors per hour last occurred in 1803. Interestingly another last outburst like this was observed and recorded in 687 BC.
Lyrid meteors will appear to be originating from constellation of Lyra and usually the meteors are quite bright, short and occasionally they do produce a fireball or two.
Graph below shows most of Lyrid meteors are just under 1 second.
Another graph shows most of meteors are brighter, similar to brightness of Venus
While observing don’t forget to dress up warm, it’s still a bit cold during the night and allow for your eyes to adjust to darkness for about 20 minutes. We recommend using red light if you need to grab a coffee. Visual observations are still valuable source of citizen science data and if you like to contribute read IMO guide on Visual Meteor Observations.
If you are lucky enough to spot a fireball please do report your fireball sighting to us.
How to observe Lyrid meteors
You don’t need a telescope since meteors streak fast across the sky. Try looking 30 degrees ( Moon is about a half of a degree) away from radiant, constellation of Lyra to see more meteors.
UKMON’s cameras will be rolling as usual and looking at the data, last year was a bust due to weather but Wilcot camera still managed to record very big fireball, completely over saturating the camera chip.
The only year UKMON really managed to cover this shower was in 2015 when our network was less than a half of the current size and only managed to record 196 paired observations. Although we have Wilcot Lyrid fireball in 2016 which was paired with observations from Basingstoke, UKMON as a network currently does not have any paired Lyrid fireball meteors.
Well, maybe we get lucky this year.