The 2014 Lyrid meteor shower is already underway. Here is your chance to go out and stargaze for a while and enjoy the meteor stream.
The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to be active from April 16 to April 25.
Vicente Malano, acting administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), said the Lyrids may peak from April 21 to before dawn of April 22.
"The shower typically generates a dozen meteors per hour under optimal conditions with a brief maximum that lasts for less than a day. The shower’s peak this year will be in progress on April 21 to predawn of April 22," Malano said as posted on PAGASA's official website.
Its time to make a note in your calendar and get ready for what looks to be quite a good show in the sky.
The Lyrids have been observed for more than 2,600 years. Chinese records show "stars fell like rain" during the meteor shower of 687 B.C., he added.
He noted the Lyrids had been "generally" weak in recent times.
Considered the oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids was named after the constellation Lyra.
According to spaceweather.com, forecasters expect 10 to 20 meteors per hour, although outbursts as high as 100 meteors per hour are possible. The true source of the Lyrid meteor shower is Comet Thatcher. Every year in April, Earth plows through Thatcher's dusty tail. Flakes of comet dust, most no bigger than grains of sand, strike Earth's atmosphere traveling 49 km/s (110,000 mph) and disintegrate as streaks of light.
If a meteor enters the Earth’s atmosphere and reaches the Earth’s surface without vaporizing, it’s called a meteorite.
Everyday, dozens of small meteorites fall to the Earth. The largest meteorite ever found in the United States weighed 15 tons and was found in 1902 in Willamette, Oregon. (Almanac.com)
(Image courtesy of Flickr User Michael Sing)