Talk about an Earth Day gift, Earth has seen an amazing meteor shower!
The annual Lyrid meteor shower “hit it’s peak” after midnight when Earth made its way through the remains of the comet, Thatcher, according to The Denver Post. Stargazers alike were left with a cool treat.
NASA scientist have been tracking the shower by using all-sky cameras and also one that was student-launched by a balloon from California, reports MSNBC.
“I’m eager to see if we can get observations on the ground that we can correlate with the space station, then see what this balloon payload will get for us,” NASA meteor shower expert Bill Cooke had told SPACE.com. “It’s kind of an exciting time for us, and it’s not even a major meteor shower.”
Cooke is in charge of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Did you know the moon has a large effect on the way we see meteor showers? Normally the Lyrid meteor shower isn’t as bright, but because the moon was in its “new moon” phase it didn’t illuminate Earth, reports MSNBC.
“The moon messes a lot of stuff,” Cooke said. “I like the moon … but it can keep us from getting work done.”
According to Cooke, although Lyrid was not the first meteor shower of the year, we are now in “meteor show season.” The shooting stars only get better from here on out.
“So this is kind of the return of the nighttime meteor shower for the year,” Cooke said. “Meteor showers are returning to us.”
MSNBC added that NASA astronaut Don Pettit was going to try and take photographs of the Lyrids from space.
Though it’s called a meteor shower, Cooke warned that people should expect to see a few falling stars per hour.