What does space have in store for us this month? One of the main highlights is a total lunar eclipse, which happens to take place on the same night as a full moon and will also be the shortest eclipse of the century. Then, later this month (in what is one of my favorite events of the year), there is the Lyrid meteor shower.
One of the most spectacular things to witness is a star gracefully “falling” from the sky. Of course, these aren’t real stars (if they were, we would all die terribly). In fact, most of these bright, burning balls of fire are really just tiny specks of dust burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
And, at certain times of year, Earth passes through the debris left by a comet, we get a virtual shower of these objects burning high above our planet (hence the name “meteor shower”). The burning particles flame some 60 miles [100 kilometers] above our planet, and depending on the weather and particle concentration, they can literally be the best show on Earth.
This month, Earth will be passing through the tail of Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), which brings us our annual Lyrid meteor shower. The last time Comet Thatcher crossed the inner solar system was in 1861. The next time will be in 2276. For more information, see this video: