By the night of April 20-21, the 2014 Lyrid meteor shower is picking up steam under the light of a bright, waning moon. This shower is usually a nice one, when the moon is out of the sky. It offers about 20 meteors per hour at its peak, but we won’t see that many this year. The maximum number of Lyrid meteors will probably rain down during the predawn hours on April 22 and 23, yet under a moonlit sky. This year, it might be to your advantage to watch this shower starting at late evening or before the moon rises into your sky. The shower radiates from a point just to the right of the beautiful blue-white star Vega, which is the brightest light in the constellation Lyra the Harp.
So you say you can find the Big Dipper, but not the Little Dipper? This post is for you. At present the Big Dipper is high in the north during the evening hours. Notice the two outer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper. These two stars – called Duhbe and Merak – always point to Polaris, the North Star. Find Polaris, and you can find the Little Dipper.
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare today, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the event.
New research suggests that the trend could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades.
In the middle of little-known nebula Gum 41, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that causes the surrounding hydrogen to glow red.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting a 7.2-magnitude earthquake – a very strong earthquake – that took place in central and southern Mexico this morning. It was originally reported as a 7.5-magnitude and then revised downward. The deep earthquake, whose epicenter was 30 miles below Earth’s surface, occurred near Tecpan, Guerrero, Mexico at 14:27:29.40 UTC on Apr 18, 2014. USGS said the quake was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. The quake was also felt in of Mexico City, a city of 8.8 million which is vulnerable to earthquakes.
A visual representation of a tiger beetle’s trajectories as it chases prey.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from about April 16 to 25, and so you might see some Lyrid meteors beginning this weekend. The peak of this shower – which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day – will fall on Earth Day, April 22, 2014. The greatest number of meteors will fall during the few hours before dawn. A last quarter moon, rising in the middle of the night, intrudes on the Lyrid shower in 2014, but these meteors tend to be bright. Some may overcome the moonlight. Follow the links inside to learn more about the Lyrid meteor shower: April’s shooting stars!
On the night of April 18-19, 2014, the waning gibbous moon and the red supergiant star Antares of the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion rise in the southeast late at night. They appear over the horizon only after the constellation Orion has set. According to ancient myths, Orion and the Scorpion are archenemies and never appear in the same sky together.