The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to reach maximum intensity overnight from Saturday to Sunday (April 21 to 22), with the best observing opportunities coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time, experts say. The moon will be nearly new at that time, so its glare shouldn’t drown out too many of the Lyrids’ brief flashes. The dark skies could make a big difference for meteor-watchers, because the Lyrids are historically a mild shower.
The Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. As said scientists the dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day. Fomalhaut is a young star, just a few hundred million years old, and twice as massive as the sun.Fomalhaut’s comet belt arrangement is similar to the Kuiper belt of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune in our own solar system.
Skywatcher Bill Snyder took this marvelous photo on February 3, 2012 from Heavens Mirror Observatory in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Comet Garradd sails slowly past globular star cluster Messier 92 (also known as M92 or NGC 6341) in this stunning image. The comet approached Messier 92 (M92) as it flew over the Hercules constellation. It passed within half a degree of Messier 92 (M92) on the day the image was taken.
The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22, hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. According to experts the Lyrid meteor shower peaks overnight from April 21 to April 22, with the best observing coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time. The moon will be new at this time, so the Lyrids’ bright flashes won’t be drowned out by the glare of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
A year from now, it is possible that “comet fever” will be running high when a newfound comet emerges into view in the evening sky. But while some scientists have high hopes for a spectacular 2013 sky show by the comet, it is still far from certain. When astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa announced last June that they had discovered the new comet, it was a distant and inconspicuous object.
According to new study Jupiter’s powerful gravity can help supercharge a meteor shower caused by trailing chunks of the famed Halley’s comet. Every October, skywatchers are treated to a dazzling show when the Orionid meteors, leftover bits of Halley’s comet, which zips by Earth every 76 years or so, burn up in our atmosphere. The Orionids are incredibly active from time to time, and this activity is generated by a complex orbital interplay among Jupiter, the comet and the meteoroids.
New evidence supports the idea that a huge space rock collided with our planet about 13,000 years ago and broke up in Earth’s atmosphere. This impact would have been powerful enough to melt the ground, and could have killed off many large mammals and humans. According to researchers it may even have set off a period of unusual cold called the Younger Dryas that began at that time. The idea that Earth experienced an asteroid or comet impact at the start of the Younger Dryas has been controversial, in part because there is no smoking-gun impact crater left behind as with other known events in our planet’s past.
The cosmic close encounter featured the comet Garradd and bright globular star cluster M92. It was photographed by astronomer Conrad Jung with the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, Calif. Jung used a 5-inch refractor telescope to snap a 10-minute exposure of comet Garradd as it zipped close by M92 on February 3. Both objects were in the constellation Hercules at the time. While comet Garradd and star cluster appeared close to each other, it was only a trick of perspective. Star cluster M92 is actually about 27,000 light-years from Earth, while comet Garradd is currently zipping through our inner solar system.
According to astronomers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may be vaporizing and devouring asteroids, which could explain the frequent flares observed. For several years Chandra has detected X-ray flares about once a day from the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*, for short Sgr A*. The flares last a few hours with brightness ranging from a few times to nearly one hundred times that of the black hole’s regular output.