Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FIRE IN THE SKY: "Bright Streaks Of Light" - Fireball Seen Over Birmingham, England As Lyrids Meteor Shower Arrives!

AP Photo/Amel Emric

April 26, 2016 - ENGLAND - Bright streaks of light in the skies over Birmingham - will you be watching?

People in Birmingham are being treated to another dramatic display of shooting stars this week.

A meteor shower known as the Lyrids has arrived in the skies and will reach maximum intensity on the night of April 22/23.

Some shooting stars are expected to be visible each night from April 19 to 25.

There has already been one report of a 'fireball' over Birmingham. So will you be watching?





Here's all you need to know.

What is the Lyrids meteor shower?

The Lyrids consist of dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit the sun.

They are considered the oldest known meteor shower and have been observed from earth for 2,600 years.

The meteor shower takes it name from the constellation Lyra, the point in the sky from which they all seem to radiate.

Some of the shooting stars are very bright and are indeed known as 'Lyrid fireballs', casting shadows for a split second and leaving a smoky debris trail that can be visible for several minutes.

What's the best way to see them?

Spotting shooting stars is always better when the sky is very dark, as with the Virginids earlier in April. But as the video above from Tim Lloyd shows, it's still possible to see something.

At midnight, the Lyrids appear 32 degrees above the eastern horizon from Birmingham. All of the meteors will appear to be coming from this point, known as the radiant.

The best place to look to see as many meteors as possible is not at the radiant itself but at any dark patch of sky which is around 90 degrees from it, where they will typically appear at their brightest.

It's best to get away from cities where light pollution will add its own glow to the sky and make it more difficult to see celestial objects. The Clent Hills and Lickey Hills near Birmingham would make good places to go.

According to astronomers at In-The-Sky.org, you could see up to 10 meteors per hour.

However, the moon will be 16 days old at the time of peak activity and adding quite a glow to the night sky - because it's getting brighter as we move towards full moon (April 22), this could limit what we can see.

No special equipment is needed. But allow 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

Remember to be patient - bring a reclining chair or a blanket so you can lie back and look up without straining your neck.

As with all celestial events, viewing conditions depend on the weather. Cloud cover will obscure the display, so check the forecast before heading out.


- Birmingham Mail.






 

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