Lovely Lyrids

Lyrid meteor
Lyrid meteor (upper right) photographed by Paul Sutherland from Walmer. Kent on 22 April. The other trail, partly in cloud, is an aircraft.

SPA member Paul Sutherland took some excellent photos of April’s Lyrid meteor shower from his home in Walmer, Kent. His balcony overlooks the English Channel, and offers good skies despite an LED streetlight in full view! Here are some of his results, taken with a Fuji X-M1 camera equipped with a Samyang 12 mm lens. Exposure times were 20 seconds each shot at ISO 2000.

Lyrid meteor
Closeup of the meteor in the photo above, taken at 02:40 UT on 22 April.
Lyrid meteor
Photo taken at 02:12 on 23 April, with meteor in Lacerta
Lyrid meteor
Meteor photographed at 02:20 UT on 23 April, in Pegasus
Lyrid meteor
A Lyrid zooms through the Milky Way in Cygnus, at 02:33 on 23 April

A good year for Lyrids?

Lyrid simulation
A simulation of the 2018 Lyrid meteors, as seen about 3 am BST on 22 April, using the Stellarium program

The spring is not usually the best time for meteors – shooting stars – but a welcome exception is the Lyrid meteor shower. These appear around the third week of April, with their peak on 22 April, and this will be a good year to view them, given clear skies, and as long as you’re prepared to wait until the early hours of the morning! Read more

Spot the Space Station

Spot the Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is in our evening skies again between 26 January and 13 February. You’ll be able to see it every clear night until 11 February from anywhere in the UK, gliding through our skies as a brilliant star. It appears brighter than most planes, despite being hundreds of kilometres away, and on good passes you can watch as it passes well over central Europe. Amaze your friends with your predictive powers! Read more