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19 April 2011

Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks April 22

I just found this post over at the JREF Forums:
The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is expected to reach its worldwide peak on 2011 APR 22 at 19 hr UT. The shower actually runs from about APR 16 through APR 26. For any particular locality observation is generally best between local midnight and dawn. A full and then waning gibbous Moon may provide a bit of a hindrance.

For a single observer the Lyrids produce roughly ten meteors per hour with a typical magnitude of +2, which is similar to the North Star (Polaris). However “Lyrid Fireballs” get bright enough to cause shadows and leave smoky trails. And occasionally as in 1982 up to 90 meteors are seen per hour.

The Lyrids are particles from Comet Thatcher and have a radiant in the constellation Lyra. The radiant is the point toward which the meteors’ tails point, but they can be seen anywhere in the sky.
In case you don't like to wait to find out about these events, and want to plan your sky viewing activities (and who doesn't?), the poster also provided this wonderful link:  http://www.curtrenz.com/asteroids01.html  It's a table that lays out all the meteor showers from now until the end of 2020 (with moon phases for even more planning).  He has several other interesting astronomical topics on his page as well.

Happy sky gazing!

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