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Lyrid Meteor Shower: April Peak, Lyra Constellation - Windows to the Universe

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All of the meteors from the Lyrid meteor shower seem to come from one spot in the sky. The red dot shows that spot. It is by the constellation "Lyra". That's how the Lyrids got their name.
Image courtesy of NASA.

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Meteor showers are times when you can see a lot of meteors in one night. There is a meteor shower every year around April 22nd. It is called the Lyrid meteor shower.

During a meteor shower, it looks like all of the meteors shoot outward from one place in the sky. That place is called the "radiant" of the meteor shower. The radiant for the Lyrid shower is in the constellation Lyra. That is why this shower is called the Lyrid meteor shower.

Most years there are about 10-20 meteors per hour at the peak of the Lyrid shower. Sometimes there are a lot more. In 1803, 1922, 1945, and 1982 there were around 100 meteors per hour!

People have been seeing Lyrid meteors for a long, long time... longer than any other meteor shower. In 687 BC, Chinese astronomers wrote of "stars that fell like rain" - the Lyrid meteor shower. That was more than 26 centuries ago!

Last modified March 24, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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