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Post by GrannyGrottbags » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:39 pm

The Lyrid meteor shower begins today, as the Earth makes its annual pass through the trail of dust left behind by Comet Thatcher, which last swung through the inner solar system in 1861. The meteor shower lasts for an average of about 10 days, starting on or about April 16th, peaking around the 22nd, and then ending sometime around April 25th or 26th. At its peak, stargazers typically spy around 20 meteors per hour, although that can vary from year to year, as there are parts of the dust trail that are thinner or thicker. Apparently, in 1982, the Earth passed through a particularly dusty part of the trail and observers were treated to a meteor storm, seeing upwards of 90 meteors per hour. In 2012, the meteor shower sported two peaks, one on April 22nd, when people reported seeing around 25 meteors per hour, and then, unexpectedly, it experienced a second peak just before the shower ended on the 26th, when observers spotted between 15 and 68 meteors per hour (depend on where they were). Also, during this particular meteor shower, a particularly large object entered the atmosphere, producing an exceptionally bright fireball and a loud sonic boom over California and Nevada on the morning of April 22nd. Pieces of this ‘bolide’ were recovered near Sutter’s Mill, the location that started the California Gold Rush in 1848. The 2012 Sutter’s Mill meteorite, as it came to be called, was estimated at being between 2 and 4 metres in diameter, and it exploded with a force of about a 4 kiloton nuclear bomb. ... 24484.html
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