Starting at around 11 p.m. Eastern time tonight, the Camelopardalid Meteor Shower will be peaking in the night sky. The meteors are the debris left behind by the comet P/209 LINEAR almost two centuries ago.
On May 23/24, Earth will be passing through this trail of debris, which is why the meteors will be visible to us here on Earth tonight for the first time ever. The comets will appear to be coming from the constellation Ursa Major (the Big Dipper).
Astronomers are predicting that the shower could be pretty spectacular, with some estimating as many as 200 meteor sightings per hour. The shower will peak between 2 and 4 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow morning.
If visibility in your area is limited, not to worry. Slooh will be live-streaming the whole event- you can check it out below:
Once a year, Earth experiences the Lyrid meteor shower as it passes through a region of cosmic debris left behind by a comet known as Comet Thatcher, which orbits the sun once every 415 years leaving behind fresh debris each time.
This year, that’ll be happening tonight. The shower is expected to be at its peak in the early morning hours of Tuesday (4/22/14). If you’re in an area where the weather inhibits sky visibility, Space.com will be providing two webcasts of the event via NASA and slooh.com.
No word yet on whether or not you can wish on a shooting star you see via live stream…
Here’s some pictures of last year’s Lyrid meteor shower (click an image to enlarge):
You may have heard people talking about the “blood moon” that happened last night. If you missed it, not to worry! Here’s the entire event (which took just under two and a half hours) in just 9 seconds:
At exactly 8:58 p.m. CST (central time) tonight, the moon will move into Earth’s shadow. The total lunar eclipse, where the moon is completely shaded by the Earth, will start a little more than an hour later at 10:07 p.m. CST, and will last until approximately 11:25 p.m. CST.
You may have heard the term “blood moon” before. Whenever the moon passes into Earth’s shadow, it takes on a reddish color- it can be anywhere from a bright copper to a darker hue, like the color of dried blood. But what causes this?
Well, even when the Earth is between the sun and the moon, some of the light from all of the sunsets and sunrises happening around the rim of the Earth makes it to the moon’s surface. Here’s Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine:
“If you were standing on the moon during a total lunar eclipse you would see the Earth as a black disk with a brilliant orange ring around it. And this brilliant ring would be bright enough to dimly light up the lunar landscape.”
It’s this ring of light which gives the moon its blood red color.
Tonight’s eclipse will be the first total lunar eclipse since December of 2011. It will be visible in its entirety across almost the entire continental United States, as well as in parts of Canada and Central America.
You can use the map below to figure out how much of the eclipse will be visible from where you are. Read more from the L.A. Times here.