Friday, April 20, 2007



Spring's temperate observing weather comes just in time for April's Lyrid meteor shower. This is the first shower since January's Quadrantids. The Lyrid shower produces meteors from April 16 to 25 and peaks with about 20 meteors per hour April 22. With the Moon's first-quarter phase April 24, this year's prospects are good. The shower radiant - in the constellation Lyra - rises by midnight, local daylight time, just as the Moon dips below the western horizon. The best rates occur a few hours before dawn, when Lyra rides high in the sky. Lyrid meteors are fast and average as bright as the Big Dipper's stars. The particles we see as meteors originated from Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1). This shower occasionally displays outbursts, with triple its usual rate.

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