2017 Lyrids

Cloudy skies prevailed over most of the UK during the Lyrid meteor shower’s activity period, but two observers managed to secure images, while a third monitoring activity via radio methods..

Bill Ward (Kilwinning) operated video cameras and DSLR cameras during the nights of Apr 21-22 and Apr 25-26.


During the night of April 25-26 he captured this image of a Lyrid fireball and its first order spectrum at 23:03:05.8 UT.


By chance, another of Bill’s camera’s captured the second order spectrum.

Bill comments

Not as bright of course but for a video meteor spectrum this is excellent dispersion.”

and, describing the spectrum, he adds

A beautifully resolved set of Fe lines around the bright green Mg line.”


The synthetic colourised spectrum is shown below

During the night of April 21-22, Bill was rewarded with the capture of the image and spectrum of a Lyrid fireballat 01:02:53 UT, along with the video of its distorting train.


Bill comments that the spectrum, shown to the right as an intensity plot and below as a synthetic spectrum, shows

Strong emission from magnesium with lots of Iron lines. Other interesting features are ionised silicon and a forbidden oxygen line.


The video showing the fireball and its distorting train can be viewed here

Bill adds

It was remarkable to see the persistant train distort in the mesospheric wind before the video cut out.”


Richard Fleet (Wilcot, Hants) captured images of several bright Lyrids during the night of April 22-23, including the example shown below, captured via his NW facing camera at 02:26 UT on the morning of April 23rd.

Bill Ward also captured DSLR images of a few, more “routine”, Lyrids. A couple of his images from the night of April 21-22 are shown below:












Radio results

John Wardle used forward scatter to monitor meteor radio reflections from the GRAVES radar system in southern France during the days around the Lyrid peak

This method does not distinguish between Lyrids and sporadic meteors. In addition the number of Lyrids detected will vary over the course of each 24 hour interval due to the changing altitude of the Lyrid radiant and its changing bearing in relation to the direction of the GRAVES transmitter.

However it can be clearly seen that the counts were highest during April 22 and April 23.