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This Month: Lyrids, First Eclipse of 2013

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This Month: Lyrids, First Eclipse of 2013

This month, the annual Lyrid meteor shower will reach maximum activity. The best time to view these falling stars will be between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Monday morning, April 22.

Lyrid meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails. About 10-20 meteors are usually visible per hour, at peak. Occasionally, surges can bring as much as 100 meteors per hour, but this is rare and not easy to predict. The Lyrids are most prolific right before dawn. Though Sunday night into Monday marks the traditional peak for this shower, you should be able to enjoy a sprinkling of meteors in the days before and after peak activity, which is a good thing, because a nearly full Moon during the peak will create poor viewing conditions this year.

Also this month, the first of four eclipses of 2013, a partial eclipse of the Moon, will take place on Thursday, April 25.

This will be a very minor partial eclipse, with the Moon’s uppermost limb merely grazing the Earth’s dark umbral shadow. At mid-eclipse, only 2 percent of the Moon’s diameter will be inside the dark shadow.

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Unfortunately for sky watchers in the United States and Canada, this event will not be visible from North America. The Eastern Hemisphere, including Europe, Africa, Australia, and most of Asia, will have the best view.

Moon Enters Penumbra: 2:02 p.m. – Moon Enters Umbra: 3:52 p.m. – Middle of Eclipse: 4:07 p.m. – Moon Leaves Umbra: 4:22 p.m. – Moon Leaves Penumbra: 6:13 p.m.

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