Two things to watch for tonight. First, during the evening hours, why not try locating one of the coolest constellations up there? The constellation Hercules the Kneeling Giant can be seen ascending in the east-northeast on these spring evenings. Second, although the Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the morning of April 22, you might still spot some Lyrids streaking along during the night of April 22 into the morning of April 23. Follow the links inside to learn more.
On April 20, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 3,000th orbit of the planet Mercury. The craft is now closer to Mercury than any spacecraft has been before; it is orbiting at an altitude of 199 kilometers (123.7 miles) above Mercury’s searing surface.
It’s time for the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower! The peak of this shower will fall on the morning of Earth Day, April 22, 2014. The greatest number of meteors should fall during the few hours before dawn. But you might want to watch in late evening, too, because a last quarter moon, rising in the middle of the night, intrudes on the Lyrid shower in 2014. 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!
Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for this year on March 21, 2014, according to a report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The extent of Arctic sea ice this year was the fifth lowest on record, these scientists say. Surprised?
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and boasts of more than twice the mass (heaviness) of all the other solar system planets, dwarf planets, moons and asteroids combined. But how do astronomers even begin to know Jupiter’s mass?
It’s time for the Lyrid meteor shower! Watch late night April 21 through dawn April 22. The waning moon interferes when it rises in the middle of the night, but the Lyrids tend to be bright. You might see some streaking along in bright moonlight.
The 2014 Lyrid meteor shower will pepper the night on the evening of April 21 until before dawn April 22. The predawn hours are typically best – and April 22, Earth Day morning, is the peak this year. You might also want to try the evening hours this year, though, because the light of the last quarter moon, rising at midnight, will interfere.
You might see a lot or you might not see many, but if you stay in the house, you won’t see any. Tips for getting the most from the Lyrid meteor shower … or any meteor shower.
Photo by Kat Baker. Thank you Kat!