The power of Earth Day is tomorrow, and what better way to celebrate our beloved planet than by watching the Lyrid meteor shower, which, this year, begins on Earth Day. Before we get into this celestial event, though, when did this earthly holiday make its debut? Earth Day was first celebrated on March 21, 1970, and it is now celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. It was reported that peace activist John McConnell had proposed a day to honor Earth and the concept of peace.
Earth Day has always been celebrated on April 22 in the United States. The organization that was launched by Denis Hayes, who was behind the creation and was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Now onto the main event: Detroit Free Press reports today that the annual Lyrid meteor shower will peak this year on the morning of Earth Day, which is tomorrow. The shower will be visible for most of the week.
Deborah Byrd, the editor of the astronomy and science website EarthSky.org, shared her knowledge about the brightness of the meteors.
"The Lyrids are bright, so they can withstand some moonlight.” Says Byrd. It was reported that the Lyrids could produce up to as many as 20 meteors per hour while at their peak. Deborah Byrd see’s things differently. “There's no way we'll be seeing that many this year. Still, even one bright meteor streaking along in a moonlit sky can be beautiful.” The April Lyrids meteor shower normally starts on April 16 and lasts till April 26.
USA Today also reports that people have a couple of choices on how and when to watch the shower this year. "People have two choices this year when watching the Lyrids. They can try to watch before moonrise, in late evening on April 21, or they can try to watch in the hours before dawn on April 22, when the moon will be in the sky," Byrd says.
Ron Hipschman, a scientist at the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum in San Francisco, shares his excitement for the shower and how nice it coincides with Earth Day. “With the Lyrids falling on Earth Day, it's a nice day to remember that our planet is made of the same star stuff as meteors.” Hipschman says. “The ground we stand on is simply a larger piece of that same material.”
You have two chances to check it out -- are you ready for the meteor shower tonight or tomorrow? What are your plans for celebrating our lovely planet? Lets all make sure that our beloved planet continues to stay strong and healthy in the galaxy. Guess it is safe to say, “Happy Earth Day.”