A meteor shower is like a magnificent display of natural fireworks to make your night more memorable and magical in Hyderabad on April 23.

Stargazing on a clear summer night with millions of bright stars illuminating the dark sky can be a soothing and peaceful experience. But, add a little sprinkle of shooting stars to it and the experience turns into one of the most mesmerizing and marvelous experience that one can witness in their lifetime.

Lyrids is one of the oldest meteor shower known to man and was first observed around 2,700 years ago. According to the NASA website – (solarsystem.nasa.gov), the first sighting of the Lyrids meteor shower was recorded by the Chinese in the year 687 BC. This meteor shower is an annual celestial event that occurs in the month of April between the 16th and 25th day of the month.

These shooting stars of the Lyrids meteor shower originate from the trail of space debris left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, named after A.E. Thatcher, who first discovered the comet on April 5, 1861. The comet, also known as comet Thatcher takes around 415 years to orbit the sun and is expected to be visible from earth again in the year 2276.

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According to the NASA website, every year the Earth passes through the trail of space debris created by comet Thatcher. When these leftover pieces of space debris collide with the earth’s atmosphere, they disintegrate to create colourful and fiery streaks, making a marvelous spectacle of many shooting stars illuminating the night sky.

The Lyrids meteor shower appears to originate from the star Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the Harp, from where the meteor shower gets its name: Lyrids. Vega is also the second brightest stars in the sky in the northern hemisphere and is easy to spot even in light-polluted areas.

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According to timeanddate.com, this year the Lyrids meteor shower will be visible from Hyderabad and will peak on the intervening night of April 22 and 23 in the city. The phenomenon can be witnessed from dusk to dawn and its visibility will be at its best between 10 pm to 4 am local time (IST), in the East-Northeast direction. The website, also suggests that on an average there could be up to 18 meteors per hour during the peak of the shower visible from the city.

To witness this enchanting experience, one does not require any special skill or equipment; although a clear dark night sky and a lot of patience are essential. Pollution, both air and light, can hinder your view, and so it is advised to select a spot as high as possible, like the roof of a building or a nearby hill to avoid pollution and street (ambience) lights that can hamper the visibility. One can also enhance their stargazing experience with the use of technology.

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There are many mobile apps that are readily available online for free. Some of the most widely used apps are Google Sky Map, Stellarium, Starwalk and exoplanet. Lastly, lie down flat on your back with your feet facing east and allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness which could take at least 20 to 30 minutes. And now, just lay back and enjoy the show.

And for all the lovers of stargazing in Hyderabad, here is a list of meteor showers that will be visible from the city in 2020:

  • Eta Aquarids on May 5-6
  • Perseids on August 12-13
  • Draconids on October 8-9
  • Orionids on October 20-21
  • Leonids on November 17-18
  • Geminids on December 13-14
  • Ursids on December 22-23
  • Quadrantids on January 3-4, 2021 (Bonus) #KhabarLive