‘Lyrid meteor shower’ shadowed by ‘Pink Full Moon’ this year: How to Watch? - Hindustan Times
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‘Lyrid meteor shower’ shadowed by ‘Pink Full Moon’ this year: How to Watch?

Apr 23, 2024 04:12 PM IST

Lyrid meteor shower: This annual event typically occurs between April 15 and 29, with its peak around April 22 or 23, with this year's peak being on April 23.

The “Lyrid meteor shower” has started, but visibility may be challenging due to the presence of a “Pink Full Moon” during the meteor shower peak, as the Full Moon's peak also falls at the same time this year. According to NASA, this annual event typically occurs between April 15 and 29, with its peak around April 22 or 23, with this year's peak being on April 23.

The Lyrid meteor shower is seen over Burg on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn off Germany (File) (AP)
The Lyrid meteor shower is seen over Burg on the Baltic Sea island of Fehmarn off Germany (File) (AP)

The best viewing opportunities for the Lyrids are typically in the Northern Hemisphere. However, moonlight is expected to disrupt visibility, as noted by the American Meteor Society, according to the Associated Press.

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How to watch Lyrid meteor shower: Find a moon shadow

During nights when the moon is full or nearly complete, observers may notice the moon casting shadows. When observing the Lyrid meteor shower in 2024, it is advisable not to position oneself directly under an utterly open sky.

Instead, seek out a location where moon shadows are present, offering a broad sky view for meteor watching. According to Earth Sky, a plateau with tall mountains that can obstruct the moon's light would be suitable for this purpose.

What are meteors?

- Meteors originate from leftover comet particles and broken asteroid fragments. When comets orbit the Sun, they leave behind a dusty trail.

- Earth passes through these debris trails annually, allowing the particles to collide with our atmosphere. This collision produces fiery and colourful streaks known as “meteor showers.” Most meteor showers stem from comet debris, with the Lyrids originating from the comet Thatcher.

- As space rocks enter Earth's atmosphere, air resistance causes them to heat up, resulting in a fiery tail behind them – what we commonly call a “shooting star.”

- These fast-moving space rocks, ranging from dust particles to boulders, create glowing air pockets visible in the night sky.

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What is a ‘Lyrid meteor shower’?

- According to NASA, the Lyrids meteor shower, peaking in late April, is one of the oldest recorded meteor showers, with a history spanning 2,700 years. The Chinese documented its observation in 687 BC.

- In 2024, the full moon is scheduled for 23.49 UTC on April 23 (around 5 am IST). This will significantly impact meteor watching due to the presence of a bright waxing gibbous moon.

- The Lyrids are renowned for their swift and luminous meteors, which contribute to their distinctiveness. In the Northern Hemisphere, optimal viewing of the Lyrids is recommended during dark hours, specifically after moonset and before dawn.

- Under ideal conditions in a dark sky devoid of moonlight, observers may witness approximately 10 to 15 Lyrids per hour. However, the Lyrids are notable for sporadic surges, occasionally producing rates of up to 100 meteors per hour.

- According to a BBC report, the Lyrid meteor shower occasionally experiences an ‘outburst,’ resulting in an unexpectedly high number of meteors, approximately every 60 years. The next anticipated Lyrids 'outburst' is forecast for 2042.

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