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Meteor shower to light up night sky on Thursday

Thursday, April 21, 2011

/ Published by VIRTHLI

New Delhi: Sky gazers may get a glimpse of shooting stars during Lyrids meteor shower on Thursday night.

"They can see javelin-shaped shooting stars whizzing past in the skies at an amazing rate as Lyrids meteor shower will peak on the night of April 21 and 22," SPACE Scientific officer Mila Mitra told PTI.

The Lyrids are a modest shower, with a dozen or two meteors per hour at best, she said, adding that these meteors can produce bright dust trails that would last for several seconds.

The waning gibbous Moon is in the way, however, so only the brightest meteors will shine through.

The Lyrid meteor shower which began around April 16 will continue through April 26.

To watch the meteors, the best area would be a place where light pollution is at its minimum and the best time would be an hour or two before dawn.

Meteors, also called shooting stars, are startling streaks of light that suddenly appear in the sky when a dust particle from outer space evaporates high in the Earth's atmosphere.

The debris that forms the Lyrid shower is dust from the comet C/1861 G1, known as Thatcher. The radiant is in the constellation Lyra.

Every year in April, the earth plows through Thatcher's drawn-out dusty tail.



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