The Lyrid Meteor Shower is approaching its peak in just two days. What may be
of interest to UMSF members is that astronomer predict that debris from the shower
may impact Earth's moon and be visible to us, as they were just a few years ago.
Space Weather has the details here, including maps and diagrams:
Space Weather News for April 20, 2006http://spaceweather.com
Earth is about to pass through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher, and this will
cause the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on
April 22nd, producing about 10 meteors per hour--modest, but pretty. The best
time to look is during the hours before sunrise on Saturday morning. Go to a
dark site away from city lights, if possible.
The Moon will also encounter the comet's tail on April 22nd, which raises an
interesting possibility: Amateur astronomers may be able to spot flashes of
light on the Moon when comet debris hits the lunar surface and explodes. All
that's required is a backyard telescope and lots of patience.
Visit Spaceweather.com for details, sky maps and observing tips.
Note: This is a Northern Hemisphere shower. South of the equator, observers
will see very few Lyrids. Southerners are, however, in an excellent position to
observe Lyrid impacts on the Moon. The Moon rises high in southern skies on
April 22nd, in plain view of backyard telescopes.