Well, it’s not going to be quite as warm this weekend as it was yesterday (75 here in NYC), but there’s another reason to enjoy the fresh spring air.
METEOR ALERT: Earth is now entering the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), 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 dawn on Saturday morning. Go to a dark site away from city lights, if possible. [full story]
The Moon will also encounter the comet’s tail on April 22nd, which raises an interesting possibility: Amateur astronomers may be able to see 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.
Tonight, load Stellarium onto your laptop so you know what you’re looking at and head our to a field or street away from the city lights, and look up between the constellations Cygnus and Hercules, right near Vega. You should be treated to a plethora of “falling stars”.