Eyes to the sky – how to catch a spectacular meteor shower on the Gold Coast this April
Following the somewhat anticlimactic super pink moon that we (kind of?) experienced earlier this month, most of us have been left wanting in the ‘breathtaking celestial events’ department. It turns out we might just be in luck – the Lyrid meteor shower is in town from April 16–25, ready to light up the sky for those willing to rise before dawn.
If you’re looking for a meteor shower on the Gold Coast this year with a cool backstory (niche), the Lyrids certainly deliver. Researchers have suggested that this particular shower may have been active on Earth for more than a million years, making it the oldest recorded meteor shower. Back in the day, the shower used to yield about 100 meteors per hour, but these days it throws a more conservative 18-ish per hour – however, you never know when the universe decides to throw a surprise into the mix.
Ordinarily we would advise you to get away from the city lights to cop the best view of any meteor shower on the Gold Coast, but in these social-distancing times, you’re just going to have to make do at home. Here in Australia, we’re also further away from the meteor shower’s radiant point, meaning our best shot at seeing anything decent is between midnight and sunrise on Thursday April 23 (ideally at about 4:00 am). While there are no guarantees that you will see much, conditions this year are as close to perfect as possible, with the peak of the shower happening right before a new moon. The boffins over at Time and Date are regularly updating the direction and the altitude of the Lyrids if you feel like getting precise, or you can download handy stargazing apps for Apple and Android devices.
Set your alarms, head out to your backyard or deck and cross your fingers for no cloud cover!