How to Experience The Celestial Event of the Spring in San Angelo
They say if you wish on a star, your dream will come true. If that's true, prepare for lots of wish fulfillment this week in San Angelo. The Spring's first sky watching event is one of the oldest known meteor showers. It's called the Lyrids. Experts are predicting a climax to this year's shower Thursday night through Friday morning.
The weather is due to be partly cloudy, so catching a few falling stars should not be too difficult, especially if you travel outside the city limits. We are fortunate here in West Texas to have many isolated roads that are far from the light pollution of San Angelo and other cities in the region.
The Lyrids has been observed for over 2,700 years They are second in intensity to the famous Perseids in August. Astronomers estimate 10 to 20 fast, bright meteors per hour at the peak of the event. They are particularly impressive because they often leave long trails of glowing dust behind them.
If you want to see the Lyrids, according to NASA is to find a spot away from the city or street lights. Lie flat on a comfy blanket or lawn chair with your feet facing east and watch as big an area of the sky at a time. It can take your eyes a full half hour to totally adjust to the darkness. Once your eyes adjust, prepare for the show.
The Lyrids seem to originate in the constellation of Lyrid, hence the name of the shower. Here's how you look for the Lyrid constellation.
So where do the Lyrids come from? Actually, they're space debris from Comet Thatcher, which was discovered back in 1861. When the earth's orbit travels through the remnant cloud of dust and other debris left over from the comet each April, that's when the incredible light show occurs. So, look up and wish upon a star. Hopefully, cloudcover will lift long enough for you to see a lot of meteors from the Lyrids.
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