It's that time of the year again when the universe celebrates with its very own spectacular fireworks; a myriad of shooting stars are due to light up the night sky, pretty soon!
The annual Lyrid meteor shower is all set to occur sometime between April 16 and 25. It typically comes in a burst of sparkles and tends to linger for nearly a day.
In 2016 this eye-catching phenomena has been predicted to take place on April 22, with the majority of the meteors tending to fall during the early hours before dawn. Hence, the best time to watch it would be sometime between midnight and dawn.
Unfortunately the peak of the Lyrid shower is set to occur in the presence of a glaring full moon, diminishing its vivacity. Chances are that only few of the meteor falls might be viewable. In 2015, it was a crescent moon and the sky was a lovely shade of dark to highlight the starry show.
People located in the Northern Hemisphere are best placed to view the Lyrids show. Even those situated in the mid Southern Hemisphere would be able to witness the shower. Astronomers suggest looking up towards the East to view the shooting stars from the Lyrids.
The Lyrid shower is named after the constellation Lyra, as it appears to originate from this constellation. Meteor showers are usually named after the constellation from where they appear. The radiant point, that is the point from which the Lyrids seemingly shoots out from, is said to be close to one of the brightest stars of the sky, Vega.
Ideally, on a moonless sky, during the shower's peak, one might be able to observe around 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour. But this time, in lieu of the full moon, the odds are against us and it might be comparatively lesser.
This dazzling night show occurs every year.
Once a year around the same time in April, planet Earth passes through the leftover ice and dust from the Comet thatcher resulting in the beautiful Lyrid meteor shower.
History dates the Lyrid meteor shower way back to 687 B.C., wherein the ancient Chinese are believed to have witnessed the shower of meteors.
Further, in 1922, 1945 and 1982, observers witnessed an outburst of around 100 Lyrid meteors in an hour. This rare event occurred during the said years in Greece, Japan and America respectively.
Sometimes, even the most careful predictions can go all wrong, and there might be a similar outburst in 2016, albeit it's not been predicted per se. So what's in store for us this year? We just have to wait and watch.