Apr 21/22 to 25/26 Meteors and the peak of the Lyrids

The stretch of 5 nights summarized in this post covers the maximum of the Lyrids shower. The Lyrids are often considered a major shower but with only a max rate of 15-20 meteors per hour they can be considered either the weakest major shower or the strongest minor shower.

This year’s display was produced the usual number of Lyrids with a peak visual ZHR of ~20 per hour. Over 30 observers from 15 countries reported 396 Lyrids to the International Meteor Organization. Maximum occurred around 20 hours UT on April 22.

Visual ZHR for the Lyrids around the time of their peak. Credit: International Meteor Organization.

The night of April 21/22 started off wet and cloudy in Tucson. Since the weather maps showed evidence of clearing later in the night I decided to start my camera even though it was still raining. Luckily the sky did clear around midnight and almost 6 hours of observing produced 19 meteors, 14 of which were Lyrids.  The next 4 nights didn’t detect many more Lyrids as weather conditions again limited the detection efficiency of my camera.

With the Lyrids out of the way, we can now look forward to one of the Earth’s biannual treks through the debris of Comet Halley. Unfortunately this year’s Eta Aquariids will be hurt by bright moonlight.

Obs  Date(UT)      Time    TOT SPO ANT ZCG LYR PPU
TUS  2010-04-26   08h 59m   8   7   1   -   -   0
TUS  2010-04-25   08h 53m   2   2   0   -   0   0
TUS  2010-04-24   02h 22m   6   5   0   -   1   0
TUS  2010-04-23   00h 00m   Clouds all night
TUS  2010-04-22   05h 54m   19  4   1   -   14  0

TUS - Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG - Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime - Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT - Total number of meteors detected
SPO - Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT - Antihelions
ZCG - Zeta Cygnids
LYR - Lyrids
PPU - Pi Puppids