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The April Lyrids: Strongest meteor shower, visibility in Greece

The April Lyrids, the first meteor shower of the spring, will reach their peak in the skies of the northern hemisphere late Monday to Tuesday dawn.They will be visibly in Greece, although it may be hard to take a look at them through the sky that will be covered with Sahara dust.

The shooting stars will be visible until Holy Thursday, if the sky is clear, something that will allow the night observation.

Lyrids are considered a ‘medium’ meteor shower and during their peak, it is estimated that approximately 20 meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere with a speed up to 50km/h.

The April Lyrids meteor shower usually last from April 16 to April 26 each year.

The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, near this constellation’s brightest star, Alpha Lyrae (proper name Vega). Their peak is typically around April 22 each year.

The source of the meteor shower is particles of dust shed by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.

The April Lyrids are the strongest annual shower of meteors from debris of a long-period comet, mainly because as far as other intermediate long-period comets go (200–10,000 years), this one has a relatively short orbital period of about 415 years.

The Lyrids have been observed and reported since 687 BC; no other modern shower has been recorded as far back in time.

The shower usually peaks on around April 22 and the morning of April 23. Counts typically range from 5 to 20 meteors per hour, averaging around 10.

As a result of light pollution, observers in rural areas will see more than observers in a city. Nights without a moon in the sky will reveal the most meteors.

April Lyrid meteors are usually around magnitude +2. However, some meteors can be brighter, known as “Lyrid fireballs”, cast shadows for a split second and leave behind smokey debris trails that last minutes.

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