Volume: 02, Issue: 08 04/21/2004 
Images of the Lyrids taken last year by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Mars Rocks Resemble Meteorites Found on Earth
Sedna Mystery Deepens With Hubble Images of Farthest Planetoid
Two Storms Caught in the Act on Saturn
Explore Professional Development Opportunities
 

Celestial Show Tonight

Thanks to Comet Thatcher, observant and early rising stargazers will have show to see at about 3 AM on April 22. The Lyrids, a regular April meteor shower, will streak across the morning sky at a rate of about 5 to 20 meteors every hour.

The Lyrids are so named because they appear to radiate from a point within the constellation Lyra, which can be found above Cygnus due East in tonight's sky. They are actually bits of debris left by Comet Thatcher as it crossed Earth's orbit. This is why they are so regular. As Earth follows its path around the Sun, it grazes this stream of debris once a year, pulling out chunks of rock, dust, and ice. These chunks generate a lot of friction and heat as they fall through the atmosphere and create the glowing streaks that are often called shooting stars.

For a sky map to help in your observations, visit:
http://spaceweather.com/meteors/lyrids/skymap_north.gif

    
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