Saturday, 20 April 2013

Lyrid Meteors peak tomorrow, get viewing tips today

Lyrid Meteors peak tomorrow, get viewing tips today, The peak of the Lyrid Meteor Shower is tomorrow, April 20-21, 2013. However, despite the fact that the peak doesn't arrive until tomorrow doesn't mean that meteors will wait until then to start streaking through the sky. In contrast, Lyrids have been blazing trails through the heavens for about a week already.

Traditionally, the Lyrids are a minor meteor shower, where one can expect to see, according to some estimates, 10-20 meteors per hour. The best time to view is in the pre-dawn hours as Lyra is at its highest point in the sky at this time, high in the East. To improve odds of seeing meteors, travel out of light-polluted Clevelandand to the suburbs or, even better, the country if you can. In the suburbs, just going from the front to back yard can make a dramatic difference, too.

So how about viewing tips?

First, plan to stay out a while, as it takes the human eye about 15 minutes to get optimal night vision capability. The bad news is that, even one bright flash of white light will wipe out night vision, requiring you to start the process all over again. Next, grab a lawn chair or, even better, a lounge-type chair. Trying to lean back with a straight-back lawn chair can be a pain in the neck, literally! Eyes ready for dark and with something to sit/lay on, settle in for a night of hopeful meteor watching (or at the very least, stargazing), just try not to fall asleep and don't forget to dress warmly as it will be getting quite cold in the Cleveland area during the night!

Besides meteors, tonight can be a great time for binocular viewing, owing to your use of a chair. Under suburban (maybe) or rural skies (definitely), a pair of medium power (10x50) binoculars can yield some stunning wide-angle sights. For someone truly dedicated, why not try and keep a tally of how many meteors you see for every complete hour? Really ambitious? Why not try photographing the meteors?

Fortunately, the Moon is going to be near First Quarter at the time of the Lyrids, which is a real boon as it will have set by the time Lyra is at its highest.

Now for viewing. Look in the Northeast to find the constellation of Lyra, which rises at about 9:30pm. More good news is that Lyra is easy to spot as it contains blazing blue Vega, the second brightest star in the spring sky. As the night progresses, Lyra will climb higher in the sky, making for a better chance to see meteors.

Good luck and clear skies to all.

Like this?
Hit the 'subscribe' button for automatic email updates when I write something new!

Want to read more of my stuff? Check out my other Examiner columns!
Photography Examiner
Cleveland Astronomy Examiner
Cleveland Photography Examiner

Want even more? Check out my personal website:
Bodzash Photography & Astronomy

No comments:

Post a Comment