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Old 04-18-2010, 07:32 AM   #1
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Mid Atlantic Campers
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Posts: 26
Lyrids Meteor Shower - Eye Candy

For most folks, a meteor is simply a quick streaking "shooting star". If you have never watched a meteor shower, you are in for a treat of eye candy if you are have clear skies and even better yet, if you are away from metro areas. Different showers produce different colors depending on composition of the meteor. The color of many meteors is caused by light emitted from metal atoms from the meteoroid (blue, green, and yellow) and light emitted by atoms and molecules of the air (red). The metal atoms emit light much like in our sodium discharge lamps: sodium (Na) atoms give an orange-yellow light, iron (Fe) atoms a yellow light, magnesium (Mg) a blue-green light, ionized calcium (Ca+) atoms may add a violet hue, while molecules of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) and oxygen atoms (O) give a red light. The meteor color depends on whether the metal atom emissions or the air plasma emissions dominate. I am telling you, a good shower will hook you forever, but you must be patient. We typically use our LaFuma recliners and have our fav beverages and snacks etc sitting next to us. A little music is nice too.

The Lyrid meteor shower is not one of the strongest of the annual meteor showers, but it can be enjoyable to those meteor observers thirsting for something after over three and a half months of weak meteor activity.

The Lyrids generally begin on April 16 and end on April 26, with maximum generally occurring during the night of April 21/22. At maximum, hourly rates can reach about 10 meteors per hour. The Lyrids are particularly interesting for two reason. First, observations have been identified back to at least 2600 years, which is longer than any other meteor shower. Second, the meteor shower occasionally experiences an outburst of about 100 meteors per hour and the reason is basically unknown.

There are other, weaker meteor showers going on around the same time as the Lyrids. The Lyrids move rather fast. When you see a meteor, mentally trace it backwards. If you end up at the constellation Lyra then you have probably seen a Lyrid meteor! http://meteorshowersonline.com/lyrids.html

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Old 04-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #2
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Thanks for the informative information, I am also a star gazer, but one also has to be a night owl to enjoy it totally.
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