Meteor Shower + Camping = Priceless
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the spring is blossoming after a cold, dark winter. If you are a night sky watcher, you know that we have also been through a dry spell as it relates to meteor showers, with the last visible to us in early January. Now is the time to start prepping for a few overnighters in your tiny camper. Head out to an area with little light pollution and set up your chairs or blankets to view the Lyrid meteor shower. If you have a skylight in your tiny camper, then stay in bed for the viewing!
What causes the Lyrids?
The Lyrid meteor shower returns each year from about April 16 - April 25th, resulting from particles shed from Comet 1861 G1 Thatcher. The last time this comet was visible in the inner solar system was in 1861, hence the name. Because of this, there are no photos of the comet. The orbit of this comet is 415 years, so none of us will be around to see it’s return in 2276. Records of the Lyrids date back approximately 2,700 years, making it one of the oldest known meteor showers. According to NASA, the first Lyrid meteor shower was recorded in China in 687 BC.
The expected peak day this year is April 22nd and 23rd.
Regardless of where you are located, the best time to spot the meteor shower is between midnight and dawn. Under normal conditions, the shower offers a peak of about 10-20 meteors per hour in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, the rate is much lower at 1-2 per hour.
I’m fortunate enough to live in a rural area with several open acres accessible to me. Provided it’s not supposed to be a rainy night here in Michigan, I plan to put the teardrop in the field for a night of sky watching. With some luck, I’ll be able to spot some meteors next week.
If anyone reading this post is good at night time photography, be sure to let me know if you were lucky enough to catch a few shots. It would be great to highlight a few reader pictures in an upcoming issue. You can contact me directly at Lisa@cooltears.com