Meteor shower to light up Philippine skies

Meteor shower to light up Philippine skies

MANILA - About a dozen meteors per hour will be streaking across Philippine skies from the evening of Monday to early morning the next day, according to the astronomy section of the weather bureau.

The annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak on those dates, although the spectacle has already been active since Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

In its astronomical diary for April, Pagasa said the Lyrids have been observed for more than 2,600 years, and Chinese records show that "stars fell like rain" during the meteor shower of 687 BC.

"However, in recent times, the Lyrids have generally been weak. The shower typically generates a dozen meteors per hour under optimal conditions with a brief maximum that lasts for less than a day," it said.

"Although not numerous, Lyrids are bright and fast meteors," Pagasa said.

According to the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) website, the third quarter moon will rise an hour past midnight on April 22, "brightening the sky."

"But the moon will obscure only the fainter meteors. Luckily, the Lyrids are known to produce bright meteors, many with persistent trains," said Jane Houston Jones from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Lyrids are pieces of debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, Nasa said.

"In mid-April of each year, Earth runs into the stream of debris from the comet, which causes the Lyrid meteor shower," it said.

The Lyrids appear to come from a point in the constellation Lyra, giving the meteor shower its name.


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