Monday, April 20, 2009

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2009

Source - Space Weather News for April 21, 2009: http://spaceweather.com

MORNING METEORS: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Thatcher, the source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Wednesday, April 22nd, with a display of 10 to 20 meteors per hour over the northern hemisphere. Occasionally, Earth passes through a dense region of the comet's tail and rates surge five- to ten-fold. In 1982, for instance, observers were surprised by an outburst of 90 Lyrids per hour. Because Thatcher's tail has never been mapped in detail, the outbursts are unpredictable and could happen again at any time. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn on Wednesday morning April 22nd. Visit http://spaceweather.com for full coverage.

LUNAR OCCULTATION OF VENUS: Even if the Lyrids fizzle, there is still something wonderful to see on Wednesday morning, April 22nd. The crescent Moon and Venus are going to have a close encounter of jaw-dropping beauty. Look low and to the east just before sunrise. Observers in western parts of North America will see a lunar occultation: Venus will disappear behind the Moon's limb just after 5 am PDT and reappear again an hour or so later. Details may be found in this Science@NASA story: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17apr_lyrids.htm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I copied this from www.marylandweather.com:

The other attraction before the dawn on Wednesday was to be a close conjunction of the planet Venus and the waning crescent moon, low in the eastern sky around 5 a.m. For observers in the western U.S., the moon will actually pass in front of Venus, eclipsing its light for more than an hour. It’s called an occultation.

Finally, the International Space Station, appearing daily in the morning sky this week, will make a very bright pass just north and west of Baltimore on Wednesday morning. If skies were to clear in time, you could look for the ISS to appear above the western horizon at 5:32 a.m., rising like a bright, steady star to more than halfway up the northwestern sky by 5:35 a.m. before slipping off to the northeast and disappearing at 5:38 a.m.