April 22, 2020

Celebrate Earth Day with a delight of Lyrids Meteor Shower

Source - Internet

Stargazers will have a chance to see the oldest meteor shower ever recorded today as it explodes across the skies of India.

Coronavirus outbreak and its fear has made life difficult for us all. While a strict lockdown has been enforced in India, trapping most of us inside our own homes, the situation seems to have lighten only in the slightest. One of the most gruelling aspects of the lockdown is the boredom that comes with it. However, Earth Day is here with a charming gift for the residents of Lucknow as a meteor shower is expected to light up the city's night sky.

The Lyrids meteor shower will be visible to Lucknow residents tonight from 9:30 PM and if like us you're sitting at home getting bored out of your mind, the shooting stars are sure to cheer you up!

The cosmic phenomenon will be most visible under clear skies and in areas with low light pollution between midnight and dawn.

We all like staring at the sky and all its infinite glory. Tonight however, Lucknowites have the opportunity to bask in the beauty of the night sky and let our imagination run wild, as the Lyrids meteor shower will be visible tonight.

The meteor shower will amp up the charm of Earth Day for all the astro buffs in Lucknow. The meteor shower will be visible between 9:30 PM to 4:30 AM, however the Scientific Officer Mr. Sumit Kumar Srivastava at Lucknow's Indira Gandhi Planetarium and SKY Ametuer Astronomers Club (SKYAAC) members suggest that the best time to sight the shooting stars will be at 9:30 PM or between 4:00 - 4:30 AM.

According to Mr. Srivastava, Thursday is a new moon night and the moon will not be visible from the earth, so Wednesday is expected to be moonless as well. In such a scenario, the meteor shower will be nothing less than a spectacular show for the residents, who'll be able to see the shooting stars in the shiny best.

Although the level of pollution and weather of the city can also affect the sighting. If lucky, residents will be able to see 15 to 25 meteors in one hour during the Lyrids shower.

History behind Lyrids Meteors Showers

Courtesy - Sky & Telescope

The event was first sighted in ancient China in 687 BC, more than 2700 years ago, according to EarthSky.

Lyrid gets its name from the Lyra constellation. 

The Lyrids are rock and dust left behind by the comet C/1861 G (Thatcher) as the Earth drifts through a cloud of debris left behind by the icy space rock.

Every year, the Earth intersects with Thatcher's dusty tail and particles of the comet are seen streaking through the sky where the usually burn up.

Specks of meteor travel at about 110,000 mph.

While meteor showers create streaks in the sky that can be seen on Earth from miles away, the meteoroids that cause them are actually quite small.

Some meteors leave brilliant trails behind them in the form of ionized gas.

©Swapnil Rastogi


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