April 3, 2024

If you're someone who loves looking up at the night sky in awe, this celestial event is not one to miss. In this blog post, we'll chat about how meteor showers came about, what makes the Lyrids meteor shower so special, how to catch a glimpse of these shooting stars, and some tips on when to take in this breathtaking natural display. So simply lay back under the stars - let's get ready for a show that's truly out of this world!

What is a Meteor Shower?

The way that a meteor shower starts dates back many years, from one single celestial object ... a comet. A celestial object that orbits the sun and has a long “tail” of gas and leaves small chunks of debris as it slowly disintegrates. The small chunks of debris that are left over are what is known as a meteor. Once Earth passes through the region that has the greater than usual concentration of debris, it will then be considered a meteor shower. These events can occur annually or at regular intervals and the amount seen can vary from night to night, although meteor showers themselves are a brief, heightened period of meteor activity.

Meteor showers have an active period ranging from days to weeks and have a peak period where you are almost guaranteed to see the shower for one night during that time frame. They will appear as though they are coming from one point in the sky, which is called the radiant. Often, the meteor showers will be named after the constellation in which they appear to originate from. The Leonids for example, which are close to the constellation Leo, take after that constellation in name, or the Lyrids which are named after the constellation Lyra.

Lyrids Meteor Shower

Being one of the oldest known meteor showers, the Lyrids are worth watching at least once in your lifetime, although some do observe every year - as the Lyrids are able to be viewed annually. The Lyrids Meteor shower derives from their parent comet, C/1861, otherwise known as Comet Thatcher. Thatcher takes 415.5 years to orbit the sun once and its last closest approach to the sun was in 1861. Being a long-period comet, the Thatcher Comet will have an orbital period of 200 years or more!

How to see the Lyrids

The Lyrids meteor shower will be active from April 15th until April 29th, and the peak time to view these celestial wonders will be the evening of April 22nd, falling into the early morning of April 23rd. The predicted best time to view will be at 09:23 UTC or if you reside in Canada or the United States, you'll want to find your timezone (ie. 05:23 EST), so you will have to be ready to stay up or wake up to see these.

The best way to view the Lyrids will be under a clear and dark sky facing East in a chair that can recline. You will want to wait 15-30 minutes to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Once you can see the night sky, you will want to find the constellation Lyra, which is 10 Degrees from the bright star Vega. If you are not able to find these, you can use a sky map that will show you where to look. They are a great tool to get your bearings while looking up!

You will notice the meteor shower will ebb and flow, so you may want to allocate up to an hour to watch these showers. There is no equipment needed to see the meteor shower, which means it is an event for all ages! It is expected that eventgoers will be able to see 10-20 meteors an hour, including the odd bright flash, called fireballs.

You will want to try and snap photos or videos, as witnessing this experience is something you want to last forever! Take the time to research your camera and what settings to use. If you have a DSLR, you may want to take inspiration from this blog by the American Meteor Society.

More Major Meteor Showers in 2024

As the days grow longer and the warmth of spring envelops the land, the night sky unveils its own captivating display - meteor showers. During the year 2024, we are to be presented with multiple different showers that will promise to excite the night sky with celestial wonders, igniting darkness with streaks of light.

  1. Eta Aquariids: April 15th - May 27th, peaking on May 4th and predawn hours of May 5th.
  2. Alpha Capricornids: July 3rd - August 15th, with its peak happening on July 30th - 31st.
  3. Delta Aquariids: July 12th - August 23rd, the Delta Aquariids will peak on July 31st.
  4. Perseids: July 17th - August 24th and will peak August 12th and before dawn on August 13th.
  5. Draconids: October 6th – 10th and peak is predicted for October 8th.
  6. Orionids: September 26th - November 22nd, with its peak being the early hours of October 21st.
  7. Taurids: South Taurids predicted peak is November 5th and the North Taurids is predicted to peak November 12th. They will be both active from October 20th - December 10th.
  8. Leonids: Active from November 3rd - December 2nd and predicted peak on November 18th 
  9. Geminids: December 4th - December 17th with predicted peak on December 13th and 14th
  10. Ursids: Predicted to peak December 22nd and will be active from December 13th - 24th.

The Lyrids meteor shower is a spectacular celestial event that offers a mesmerizing display of shooting stars. By understanding the origins of meteor showers and what sets the Lyrids apart, you can fully appreciate this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon and others alike. Remember to find a cozy spot under the night sky and prepare for a show that will leave you in wonder.

So, sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in this extraordinary cosmic spectacle. If you want to make this and other Celestial Events in 2024 even more unforgettable, don't hesitate to give us a call or email us to book your front-row seats in a CanaDream RV

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