This picture was recently posted on Facebook and unfortunetaly, despite the positive ‘feel-good’ intent of the message, it is incorrect. Yes, on april 22nd there will be a meteor shower, one known as the Lyrids, named for the constellation Lyra the Harp where the origin point, the radiant for the meteor shower is located. Meteors streak outward from the radiant in all directions. The Lyrid Meteor Shower, like all meteor showers occurs over a spread of days with at least one day as the peak when the maximum number of meteors per hour happens. The Lyrids are active between April 16 and 25 with the 22nd-23rd as the peak period.
No there will not be “thousands” of meteors, however the Lyrids have a ZHR (zenith hourly rating) of an average around 20 per hour, sometimes reaching as many as 90 per hour. This of course is assuming good seeing conditions.
So what makes the above Facebook-posted graphic incorrect? It is how the viewing is described without the caveat that this will not be a good year for the Lyrid Meteor Shower simply because the waxing Gibbous Moon will be in the sky at the same time. Click on the graphic to the right to see a larger version showing the sky at 10:30 pm CDT. The waxing gibbous Moon, a couple of days away from full, will be brightening the sky enough to make any but the very brightest of the meteors visible.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.