Due to the demand of our popular Autumn Comets and Curry evening we are now hosting a Spring Comets and Curry event.
The April Lyrid Meteor Shower is usually active between April 16 and 30 every year. It tends to peak around April 22 or 23 but in 2020, it will peak on the evening of the 21st and morning of the 22nd April.
Astrophotographer Mark Lissick took the photograph of the Lyrid meteors and the Milky Way, on April 22, 2013, in Hope Valley, California (near Lake Tahoe).
(Image credit: Mark Lissick/Wildlight Nature Photography)
The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, near this constellation's brightest star, Vega. It is the oldest recorded Meteor Shower and according to some historical Chinese texts, the shower was seen over 2,500 years ago; no other modern shower has been recorded as far back in time. The source of the meteor shower is particles of dust shed by the long-period Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun. The comet is expected to be visible from Earth again in 2276.
The April Lyrids are the strongest annual shower of meteors from debris of a long-period comet, mainly because as far as other intermediate long-period comets go (200–10,000 years) this one has a relatively short orbital period. Counts typically range from 5 to 20 meteors per hour, averaging around 10. As a result of light pollution, observers in rural areas will see more than observers in a city. Nights without a moon in the sky will reveal the most meteors so this year it is ideal with the peak occurring just before New Moon. April Lyrid meteors are usually quite bright at around magnitude +2. However, some meteors can be brighter, known as "Lyrid fireballs", cast shadows for a split second and leave behind smokey debris trails that last minutes.
Even though we will have passed the peak we will hopefully see some of these shooting stars during the evening starting off in the northeast at low altitude.
While we don't use the telescopes to spot meteors, if the weather does permit you will get a chance to look at some other interesting celestial objects through the large telescopes.
The evening aims to be both informal and informative with a talk presented by a guest speaker. If the weather is unsuitable on themed evenings, the talk will go ahead regardless and a comprehensive tour of the telescopes will replace viewing.
There is a meat or vegetarian curry but there is NO alternative menu to the curry. The curry will be served with rice, naan bread and poppadoms. A CASH bar will be available on the evening.
You can book this event on-line or alternatively please just phone The Centre on 01323 832731 to secure your place(s) using a credit or debit card.
Gift Tickets are available for this event by telephone only. Last day for ordering Gift Tickets for Christmas is 11th December 2019.
Please wear warm clothing and sensible footware and please bring a torch, preferably red light. The Centre, has been built on different levels with high walkways and steps, please be very careful when walking around The Centre especially in the hours of darkness.
While the Centre makes every effort to accomodate wheel chair users and others with mobility issues, by virtue of the nature of the building (grade II* listed), the telescopes are accessed by steep narrow stairs. If you require further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is 3 – 15 Stirling Road, Acton, London. W3 8DJ. UK.