Tonight, April 16, people around the world will be able to admire the sky and see the Lyrids, a heavy shower of shooting stars causing a maximum of 100 meteors every hour. Having been recorded for the first time some 2,700 years ago, the annual event is sure to drop the jaws of astronomers in the northern and southern hemispheres. It begins this evening and will continue until April 25, with a peak scheduled for the evening of April 21 until the wee hours of April 22.
The shower of shooting stars is the result of the Earth’s passage through the dusty trace of a secular comet orbiting the Sun, creating an extraordinary spectacle of meteors. The particles enter the atmosphere at a spectacular speed ranging from 40,000 to 250,000 km / h.
The meteors are named Lyrides because of their connection to the constellation Lyre in the northeast, where they seem to come from. Generally it is not as bright as other rains, like the Perseids in August, but the Lyrids can sometimes produce fireballs.
Experts realistically estimate that we will be able to observe between 10 and 20 meteors per hour. “The Lyrids are known to produce an impressive spectacle, but it is not something that we can predict with precision,” said astronomer John Maclean of the Exeter Observatory.
As this year’s rain of shooting stars takes place during the new moon, the sky will be beautiful and dark. You should be able to see a lot of meteors this evening! You also don’t need any special equipment, just look up.