2012 Lyrid Shower

2012 Lyrids Composite The annual Lyrid meteor shower occurs when debris from comet Thatcher intercepts the Earth. Shower activity peaks around April 22, with some events seen several days on either side of this. These are fairly fast meteors, hitting the upper atmosphere at 49 km/s (110,000 mph).

This is a composite image of 27 meteors collected between sunset on April 21 and sunrise on April 22. Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. However, the radiant is very close to the bright star Vega, visible in this image as the shorter bead-like string in the center left (the longer string is the star Arcturus). All the Lyrid meteors point back to a point somewhere along the line traveled by Vega.

There are currently several active meteor showers in addition to the Lyrids, including the Pi Puppids and Eta Aquarids. Only meteors identified as Lyrids are shown in the above composite.

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© Copyright 2012, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.