Just in time for Earth Day, sky-watchers get a treat as the Lyrid meteor shower peaks late night on Wed. Apr. 22 into the following morning.
And with the moon setting mid-evening and leaving behind perfectly dark skies, this annual celestial fireworks show promises to put on a great performance and generate as many as 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour.
As with most other annual meteor showers, the Lyrids are produced by a cloud of tiny particles, each being no bigger than a grain of sand. Streams of this stuff float in space and are debris that has been shed from a passing comet.
Each time a comet makes a close flyby of the Sun, its ice begins to melt, releasing trapped grains and even rocks that settle into the same orbit as the parent comet has around the sun.
In the case of the Lyrids this week, the meteors all once called comet Thatcher their home. This dirty snowball loops around the sun every 415 years, last appearing in our neighbourhood back in 1861. The egg-shaped orbit of theRead More »from Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight: How to watch from home