Lyrids Meteor Shower in April, And Other Meteor Shower Dates In 2014
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The Lyrids meteor show is coming up in 2014, beginning on April 16 and going through April 25.
The peak is on the night of April 22 and the morning of April 23.
The peak rate is expected to be 15 to 20 meteors per hour.
“Luckily, the Lyrids are known to produce bright meteors, many with persistent trains,” according to Jane Houston Jones of NASA.
“If you’re under a dark sky, you can’t miss the beautiful river of stars near Lyra–a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy,” she said in a blog post.
The image indicates the general region of the sky from which the Lyrid meteors appear to emanate (red dot). This point, called the radiant, is really an optical illusion – the meteors are moving along parallel paths, but appear to come from a single point, just as a stretch of parallel railroad tracks will appear to meet at a point on the horizon. (NASA)
The shower comes from Earth passing through a stream of comet dust from Comet Thatcher.
“Flakes of comet dust, most no bigger than grains of sand, strike Earth’s atmosphere traveling 110,000 miles per hour and disintegrate as fast streaks of light,” Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA explains in another blog post. “A typical Lyrid shower produces 10 to 20 meteors per hour over the northern hemisphere, not an intense display. Occasionally, however, Earth passes through a dense region of the comet’s tail and rates increase five- to ten-fold.
“In 1982, observers counted 90 Lyrids per hour. Because Thatcher’s tail has never been mapped in detail, the outbursts are unpredictable and could happen again at any time.”
See the dates for the rest of the meteor showers this year below the picture.
Lyrid meteors appear to stream from the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra. (NASA)
April 19-May 28
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is an above-average one, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It’s mostly seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The peak is slated for the night of May 5 and the morning of May 6. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
A meteor shower may happen this evening when the Earth is supposed to pass through the debris field left behind the comet LINEAR. This could bring a short but intense shower that could bring hundreds of meteors per hour.
July 12-August 23
The Delta Aquarids meteor shower is an average shower that produces up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. That is slated for the night of July 28 and the morning of July 29. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
July 17-August 13
The Perseids meteor shower is described by astronomers as one of the best to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. The showers are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. It’s slated to peak on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 6-October 10
The Draconids meteor shower is pretty weak, producing only around 10 meteors per hour. It’s supposed to peak on the night of October 8 and the morning of October 9, but will likely be blocked mostly by the glare of the full moon. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
October 2-November 7
The Orionids meteor shower is slightly better, capable of producing up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It should peak on the night of October 21 and the morning of October 22. It should be a good year to observe this shower because there won’t be interference from the moon. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
September 7-December 10
The super long Taurids meteor shower in a minor shower that can only produce up to 10 meteors per hour. It actually has two separate streams. It should peak on the night of November 5, but will likely be mostly blocked by the full moon. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
November 6-November 30
The Leonids meteor shower is an average one, producing up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. Every 33 years, this shower produces hundreds of meteors per hour, but that happened in 2001. The shower should peak on the night of November 17 and the morning of November 18. The skies should give a good view of the meteors this year. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
December 7 through December 17
The Geminids is known as the best meteor shower, producing up to 120 meteors per hour. And the meteors are different colors. The shower should peak on the night of December 13 and the morning of December 14. The waning moon will block out some of the meteors but since the shower is so bright and powerful it should still be a treat. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
December 17-December 25
The Ursids meteor shower is a weak shower that only produces up to 10 meteors per hour. However, this year viewing should be good for the shower. It will peak on the night of December 22. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor, but can appear anywhere in the sky.