The best time to spot the Lyrid meteor in the UK in 2021 is on the night of 21st – 22nd April. This year, it coincides with a gibbous Moon, which means that the night sky will be bright, which makes spotting meteors a little harder – but don’t be deterred! Follow these tips from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich for the best chance of meteor-spotting.
☄️Find a dark site with an unobstructed view of the sky. ☄️The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 22 April (the night of the 21 April). ☄️Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible. ☄️Look towards the Vega constellation – here’s a handy map showing how to find it at this time of year thanks to Astronomy Now. ☄️Blanket optional but highly recommended. Reclining deckchairs make an even more comfortable way to view the sky. ☄️Remember to wrap up warm!
In conjunction with our Planetary Adventures edition (issue 28) we ran a competition to win Star Finder for Beginners, signed by Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE! Maggie is a presenter on BBC Four show Sky at Night, and is passionate about inspiring kids, especially girls, into science.
To enter the competition Whizz Pop Bang readers answered the following question:
What are stars made of?
A) Hot gas
B) Shiny aliens
c) Sparling Moon dust
The correct answer is of course hot gas! Well done to everyone who entered ?
Here our the five winners, who will each receive a signed copy of Star Finder for Beginners. Happy star-gazing! Thank you to DK Books for supplying the prizes, and asking Maggie to sign them for our lucky mini scientists.
September is the ideal time of year for a stargazing party; it’s cheap, easy to host and the kids get to stay up ‘late’ which is always deemed to be fun in itself!
Inside issue 13 is the ultimate guide to the night sky, along with a pull-out stargazing map to help the kids decipher the constellations and find out how to spot Mars, and depending on the conditions, maybe Saturn too!
We’ve put together a party planner for your science party with a difference, including the recipe for planet cake pops to impress all your party guests. And don’t forget to order copies of Whizz Pop Bang science magazine for really cool goodie bags, order single issues here.
For your stargazing party you will need:
Blankets to lie on in the garden
Binoculars (and a telescope if you have one or can borrow one)
Flasks/cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows
Jam jars and tea lights to decorate the garden, and lead the way to the stargazing blankets
Planet cake pops already made and ready to eat
Glow in the dark stickers or glow sticks to play with together
Tell your guests to bring a jumper and a wooly hat so they don’t get too cold!
The ultimate evening to hold your stargazing party will be on Saturday 10th September as the Moon will be visible in the evening sky and it will be dark by around 8pm.