Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

Meteor shower to light up WA skies this weekend

Meteor shower to light up WA skies this weekend

A monthslong pause in known meteor showers ends when the Lyrids begin to prick the night sky this week.

"If clear sky prevails Saturday morning (April 22nd), we might expect to see between 10-20 meteors per hour under dark, moonless skies".

"Meteor showers are notorious for being fickle so you really never know for sure what's in store unless you watch", EarthSky notes.

Every April those space scraps hit Earth's atmosphere at 109,600 miles per hour, "vaporizing from friction with the air and leaving behind the streaks of light we call meteors", Astronomy Magazine explains.

The Lyrids appear to come from an area to right of the bright star Vega.

The meteor is formed by bits of debris left behind by the repeat passages through the inner solar system of comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1).

Keen stargazers are in for a treat this weekend as the Lyrid meteor shower peaks in the night sky.

The Lyrids are generally fast and bright and not only produce trains, but also occasional fireballs, or exceptionally bright meteors, King added. Active from 16-25 April, the peak of the shower is expected around 12h UT on 22 April, which would favour North American observers.

This is the second time in a week that viewers will be treated to an astronomical sky show. "Bring along warm clothes and a blanket".

The shower is expected to be at its most intense late Friday and early Saturday, with prime viewing between 2 a.m. and dawn. "Reclining in a lawn chair is a great way to take in a lot of the sky at once, but be sure to get up and walk around occasionally".

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