A & E

Spring Brings April Meteor Showers

Starting Thursday Apr. 15 the Lyrid meteor shower will become visible to the naked eye until Apr. 30.

The Lyrid meteor shower occurs yearly typically towards the middle or end of April. This Lyrid shower will peak on Thursday Apr. 22, in the early morning. 

Astronomy professor Amy Sibal has taught at Clark College since 2005. Sibal says there are about six meteor showers that occur each year. Meteor showers begin when clumps are formed out of dust and debris. When earth passes through those clumps, meteor showers, or “shooting stars” are seen through the sky.

“Whatever the name of the meteor shower is, you look in the sky for it. So if it’s the Perseids meteor shower you look in the Perseus constellation and if it’s the Geminids you look in the Gemini,” Sibal said. In this case, you would look for the Lyra constellation. 

Just a few days later on Apr. 26, the Pink Super Moon will come. Sibal says the name “super-moon” simply means it’s the point in the Moon’s orbit that’s closest to Earth, making the Moon appear bigger. 

Sibal says she’s not exactly sure where the name Pink comes from in regards to the Moon but says that it’s due to the blooming of Phlox flowers. 

The best time to view both events is at night. Some spots close to Clark that offer optimal viewing are Clark’s football and baseball fields and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Sibal recommends finding a place away from city lights is best. 

“Your night vision turns on 15 minutes after you haven’t seen white light, so the farther away you can get from white lights, the better off you are,” Sibal said. “If you can be isolated along with it being dark, that’s ideal.”

Sibal says another astronomical event to be on the lookout for is the Lunar eclipse happening May 26, during the afternoon. 

If you miss this meteor shower, there’s still a chance you can see other showers throughout the year. Most significantly the Perseid meteor shower that will occur during the summer peaking on Aug. 12.

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