Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lyrids Meteor Shower april 2010

The shower on May 22, 687 BC (proleptic Julian calendar) was recorded in Zuo Zhuan, which describes the shower as “On day xīn-mǎo of month 4 in the summer (of year 7 of King Zhuang of Lu), at night, fixed stars are invisible, at midnight, stars dropped down like rain.

The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22—hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. The source of the meteor shower is the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher. The Lyrids have been observed for the past 2600 years.

First a word about the moon — it is not your (the expectant meteor watcher’s) friend. Light reflecting off a bright moon can be just as detrimental to good meteor viewing as those bright lights of the big city. There is nothing you can do except howl at the moon, so you’ll have to put up with it or wait until the next favorable shower. Even though the 2010 Perseids and Geminids will share the night sky with the moon, they are still expected to produce more visible meteor activity than other major showers that don’t have an interfering moon.

It is not until after midnight that the earth is turned into the path of the comet, so if you go out early in the evening, you may see some meteors but not as many as you would later in the night. The best way to enjoy them is to throw a blanket on the ground and lie down so that you can see as much of the sky as possible. I plan to set my alarm for early morning to see if the skies are clear.

It’s the Lyrids! They will be here strongest between 1 and 3 in the morning. I probably won’t be getting up. It’s going to be cloudy here, and full of light pollution.

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