Astro Bob blog: Waves that will shock youSpectacular video of shock waves in the Icelandic volcano. Tomorrow morning is the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower. Times for viewing the space station through the weekend.
By: Bob King, Duluth News Tribune
Time for something lyrical
Video of natural shock waves inside the Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano recorded by Omar Ragnarsson.
This video above shows rare shock waves in the volcanic eruption. Watch as they rip through the gas and ash clouds as dark, concentric waves. They're quickly followed by rapidly rising bursts of ash and lava. The whole scene looks completely out of control. Amazing stuff!
The Lyrid meteor shower's predicted to be at its best Thursday morning in the dark, moonless hour before the start of dawn. You know you're seeing a Lyrid and not a stray meteor if you can trace its track back toward Vega in the constellation Lyra. Created with Stellarium
Tomorrow morning the Lyrid meteor shower will reach its peak putting on a modest show of 15-20 swift meteors per hour after moonset. The Lyrids appear to radiate from southwest of the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra the Harp and are best seen from suburban and rural sites. If you plan on watching the shower, go out after moonset (about 3 a.m.) and stay until the beginning of morning twilight around 4:30. With the moon out of the way, you'll have a much darker sky and be able to see more meteors.
Lyrids originate with Comet Thatcher. Each year Earth's orbit intersects that of the comet in late April. When we do, sand-sized grains of dust left behind by Thatcher strike the atmosphere at high speeds and burn up in sudden incandescence as meteors. The best way to watch this shower is to lie down on a comfortable blanket, preferably with a friend or (willing) spouse and look straight up. If you prefer a chair, face toward the southeast.
Sure, the Discovery space shuttle has landed (at left) but the International Space Station keeps chugging away and will make two passes tomorrow morning, the first starting at 4 a.m. across the northern sky and the second across the top of the sky at 5:33 a.m. The latter will be a particularly bright flyby, a great way to cap off your meteor shower watching.
Here are additional times this week for viewing the space station from the Duluth, Minn. region. All times are Central Daylight. For exact times for your location, please click HERE and fill in your zip code.
* Friday morning April 23 starting at 4:22 a.m. The ISS will travel from northwest to east.
* Saturday April 24 at 4:45 a.m. across the top of the sky. This will be a brilliant one!
* Sunday April 25 at 5:09 a.m. starting in the west and passing across the southern sky.
* Monday April 26 at 4 a.m. and again at 5:33. The earlier one is across the top of the sky, the other low in the south.
(Shuttle photo from NASA TV)