Posted by: Jerry Garrett | April 1, 2012

Lyrid, Eta Aquarid Meteors Light Up April, May 2012 Skies

Where to look for the Lyrid Meteor Shower (Space.com)

Ideal conditions – pitch-black skies – should help highlight this year’s Lyrid Meteor Shower, which hits its peak April 16-25.

How many meteors per hour might be visible is debatable, but there is no argument the Lyrid’s will provide the best sky-watching to date in 2012. There was a long, quiet period for meteor lovers between the Quadrantid shower in early January until the Lyrid’s annual mid-April show.

The moon will be fading to black by April 21 – the night when the Lyrids will be most active.

Observers in recent years have reported an about 20 meteors per hour, although as many as 90 meteors per hour have been recorded – but there haven’t that many in 30 years.

The best times to watch for them are just before dawn each morning, just above the northeastern horizon. They seem to come firing out of the constellation Lyra (that’s where they get their name) near the bright star of Vega.

NASA's map locating the Eta Aquarids

When is the next meteor shower after the Lyrids? Actually, the Eta Aquarids overlap the Lyrids a bit – starting April 19 and lasting through May 28. The peak of the Eta Aquarids, however, is on May 5 – just when the full moon hits.

They could still be worth look – check them out in the eastern sky, coming out of the constellation Aquarius, around 3 a.m.

Jerry Garrett

April 1, 2012

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