Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stars to Fall Like Rain - April 2013

I was looking around to see what to blog when I came across this news - Stars to Fall like Rain. I got interested as I really wish to witness this big event with my two boys, hubby and Eieo. Here's the news I got and read a couple of minutes ago. Happy reading!

Stars to fall like rain in April: Filipino astronomers
By DJ Yap in Manila/Philippine Daily Inquirer | Asia News Network

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Expect "stars to fall like rain" from the night sky next month with the return of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, astronomers at the weather bureau in the Philippines are saying.

The Lyrid meteors come in late April when Earth plows through the dusty tail of the periodic Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) and flakes of the comet's dust, most the size of grains of sand, strike the planet's atmosphere at a speed of 49 kilometres per hour and disintegrate in the air as streaks of light.

The event lasts from April 16 to 26 and this year, according to the monthly astronomical diary prepared by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the Lyrid meteors will be most visible in the evening of April 22.

"The shower typically generates a dozen meteors per hour under optimal conditions," reads the Pagasa report prepared by officer in charge Vicente Malano.

Usually, the shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour but better displays sometimes occur when the Earth glides through an "unusually dense clump of [comet] debris."

In 1982, for example, the shower produced as many as 90 Lyrids per hour.

Malano says the Lyrid showers will peak on April 22. "Although not numerous, Lyrids are bright and fast meteors," Malano says.

But a "bright gibbous moon" that night might obscure the light of fainter meteors before dawn, he says.

The Lyrid meteor shower has been observed for more than 2,600 years.

"Chinese records show that 'stars fell like rain' during the meteor shower of 687 BC. However, in recent times, the Lyrids have generally been weak," Pagasa says.

The Lyrids are so called because they appear to stream from a point in the constellation Lyra, according to a posting on the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

That point in Lyra seems to be the bright star Vega, a brilliant blue-white star about three times wider than the sun and 25 light-years away from Earth.

(With a report from Inquirer Research)

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