Dark Sky Week: April 15-22

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Night owls are in luck: The Lyriad meteor shower will be visible later this week in the north sky, on the tail end of International Dark Sky Week, and also about the last time Alaskans will see a dark sky until autumn.

The orbital path of Comet Thatcher signifies the end of a meteor shower drought that lasted for the past few months. In Alaska the shower runs annually from about April 16 through April 25, and this year will peak the night of April 22. The meteors can sometimes produce bright trails of dust that can be seen for several seconds.

At the same time, a thin crescent moon will set early in the evening. Best viewing time for the meteor shower will be after midnight from a dark location, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Those in the Arctic probably won’t see the starry show because the skies are now not getting dark enough. But Southeast may have partly cloudy weather and a chance for star gazing midweek.

The new moon is April 19, at about 8:15 pm Alaska time, and late that night will be a great time to observe fait objects like star clusters and galaxies, if the skies are clear enough.

The Lyriad meteor shower has been recorded for as far back 687 B.C by Chinese astronomers. Learn more about the meteor shower at DarkSky.org.

Photo: Night sky, Lake Clark by D. Khalsa National Park Service

3 COMMENTS

  1. “The Lyriad meteor shower has been recorded for as far back 687 B.C by Chinese astronomers.”
    .
    And based on that fact, the Communist Chinese have now laid claim to the entire heavens, as well as all meteorites that fall to earth. This is part of their “One Chinese Universe” policy.

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