Lyrid Meteor showers 2018: Tips for stargazing without telescope; know when and where to watch it

20 April 2018, 12:21 PM
Representational Image
Representational Image

It is going to be a picturesque night for enthusiastic stargazers, as the annual Lyrid meteor shower usually occurs between April 16 and 25 each year when our Earth passes through the tail of a comet.

It is said to be one of the most breathtaking showstoppers with up to 100 shooting stars every hour. The year 1993, witnessed the best Perseid performance with a shower of 300 meteors per hour.

Bruce McClure of Earthsky.org said, “In 2018, the peak of this shower — which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day — is expected to fall on the morning of April 22, with little or no interference from the waxing moon.”

When the Lyrid meteor shower will be at its peak then people can see about 10-20 meteors per hour. The night sky will be pretty dark because of the waxing moon. Hence, people can clearly see the meteors during their peak time. National Weather Service has forecasted clear skies for nearly the western half of the U.S and the immediate Eastern Seaboard.

The best night to see the Lyrids will be the night of Saturday, April 21, into the early morning of Sunday, April 22, although some meteors will be able to be seen on the night before and the night after the shower’s peak.

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When and where to look:

This time viewing meteor shower will be easy for stargazers of all ages and will not require the use of binoculars or a telescope.

“The shower will be best viewed after midnight when the radiant is highest in the sky. “ Samuhel said.

This weekend’s shower will radiate from east-northeast near the Lyra constellation, which is how the shower earned its name.

However, meteors will be visible streaking across all areas of the sky, not just to the east-northeast.

"Lay back and get as much of the sky in your view as possible, and just wait," Samuhel said.

Not as many meteors will be visible on these nights, but rates may reach 10 to 15 meteors an hour.

Here are three tips to follow when stargazing:

1. Become familiar with the night sky

The simplest way to gaze the objects in the night sky is to use one of the many astronomy apps on a smartphone or tablet. These apps display where constellations, planets, the moon and even the International Space Station can be found.
Nightly star charts can also be found online so people can plan what to look for in advance.

2. Choose a spot away from light pollution

The night sky is filled with a countless number of stars, galaxies and constellations, but light pollution can limit how much is visible to the naked eye.

3. Let your eyes adjust to the dark:

People’s eyes will start to adjust to the dark within minutes of turning off the lights, but it may take as long as 30 to 45 minutes to adjust to the darkness completely.

Once adjusted to the darkness, it is important not to use a flashlight or look at a cell phone or camera screen as it can ruin your night vision.

First Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 09:19 AM
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