Stars to fall like rain in April–Pagasa



Expect “stars to fall like rain” from the night sky next month with the return of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, astronomers at the weather bureau say.

The Lyrid meteors come in late April when Earth plows through the dusty tail of the periodic Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1) and flakes of the comet’s dust, most the size of grains of sand, strike the planet’s atmosphere at a speed of 49 kilometers per hour and disintegrate in the air as streaks of light.

The event lasts from April 16 to 26 and this year, according to the monthly astronomical diary prepared by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the Lyrid meteors will be most visible in the evening of April 22.

“The shower typically generates a dozen meteors per hour under optimal conditions,” according to the Pagasa report prepared by officer in charge Vicente Malano.

Usually, the shower produces 15 to 20 meteors per hour but better displays sometimes occur when the Earth glides through an “unusually dense clump of [comet] debris.”

In 1982, for example, the shower produced as many as 90 Lyrids per hour.

Malano says the Lyrid showers will peak on April 22. “Although not numerous, Lyrids are bright and fast meteors,” Malano says.

But a “bright gibbous moon” that night might obscure the light of fainter meteors before dawn, he says.

The Lyrid meteor shower has been observed for more than 2,600 years.

“Chinese records show that ‘stars fell like rain’ during the meteor shower of 687 BC. However, in recent times, the Lyrids have generally been weak,” Pagasa says.

The Lyrids are so called because they appear to stream from a point in the constellation Lyra, according to a posting on the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

That point in Lyra seems to be the bright star Vega, a brilliant blue-white star about three times wider than the sun and 25 light-years away from Earth.

Vega is the star in the movie version of Carl Sagan’s novel “Contact.” It was the source of the alien radio transmission to Earth monitored by the group of astronomers led by Jodie Foster. With a report from Inquirer Research


 First posted 12:03 am | Sunday, March 31st, 2013

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  • willydee68

    Please update the speed. 49 kph is not quite enough to make something glow…

    • Mamang Pulis

      o nga naman, mabilis pa hangin sa rotor blades ng huey.–49 kilometers / seconds yun dapat.

      • Drillon Recto

        Hindi nga. Kahit anong speed basta pagpasok ng isang bagay sa earth’s amosphere mag-glow because of friction.

      • Mamang Pulis

        aws sorry naman sir….ang turo kasi nu high school physics ay 9.81m/s^2 :) kya kapag ang isang object sa kalawakan pag hinila na ng gravity —ayan na–regardless of weight…pag dumaan nga kamo sa ‘atmosphere’–magbabaga.

        ang turo naman sa mga gumagamit ng helicopter –dapat palitan ang rotor blades kada ‘X’ amount of blade hours

        kya naihambing ko lang—ok sir—glow in the dark sila.

    • Drillon Recto

      It’s not the speed that make anything that enters earth’s atmosphere glow but friction.

      • junnuj

        Yes its friction but at 49 kph there isn’t enough friction. Air friction is a function of airspeed and at 49 kph its not enough. If it were so, a bus travelling at that speed would glow hot considering air is much denser on the ground. Maybe the unit of speed should have been km per second.

  • UPnnGrd

    Metro-Manila air is so polluted that seeing the meteors is near impossible.

  • virgoyap

    Is this visible to our naked eyes?

    • Drillon Recto

      Not in the PHL.

  • farmerpo

    ‘at a speed of 49 kilometers per hour and disintegrate in the air as streaks of light.’

    TOTOO ba ire? Mabilis pa bisikleta ko ah.. and I don’t disintegrate…baka naman per second?

    Anong oras at saan direksyon titingin? Kumpletohin naman ang kuwento.

    • Drillon Recto

      You will disintegrate too if you enter earth’s atmosphere at any speed. Hindi rin naman alam ng PAGASA kasi hindi naman kita yan sa Pinas.

  • Mang Teban

    Oh, yes, the movie had the sequence of prime numbers
    to explain the intermittent frequency of the strange droning sound….Carl
    Sagan surely amuses me. But, there are suckers for such “science
    hocus-pocus”. As the usual excuse when the mental capacity of an agnostic
    scientist cannot explain further what goes in the universe and avoiding to give
    credit to the Creator, Carl Sagan would come up with theories such as the
    existence of extra-terrestrial beings which remains a figment of man’s
    imagination and can possibly be just a distraction by the Enemy of God. We have
    not gone far enough to learn more about ourselves in this planet and our
    purpose in life in harmony with God’s plan for each one of us. God bless the
    soul of Carl Sagan.

  • Drillon Recto

    “dozen meteors per hour” and yet PAGASA exaggerates “stars to fall like rain”. Do these PAGASA people know what they are saying? Are they from PHL? Do they know what rains feel like in PHL and what uneducated people will feel after hearing this irresponsible sensationalizing of an event that would hardly be seen in PHL skies? These are people who are bored to their wits.

    • concern_netizen

      Hyperbole iho.

    • David | nasa layasan

      Please re-read the paragraph where the phrase “stars fell like rain” is mentioned. It clearly stated that PAGASA quoted “Chinese records”. The completely misleading first paragraph can only be attributed to the writer and the approval of the article’s title to the INQUIRER editors.

      A simple google search will also lead to information on the typical speed of Lyrid meteors, 49 km/s and not 49 km/h as stated in this article.

  • dsuarez113

    ‘Stars to fall like rain in April–Pagasa’ – what a careless and
    unthinking exaggeration of a headline, on such a scientific subject.
    Some readers will be misled and seriously believe this.
    Pagasa – if
    you really made such a statement, how can you expect to be taken
    seriously by more knowledgeable readers? PDI – this is another one of
    your careless, sensational and misleading headlines, please be more
    serious in your articles. 49 kilometers per hour? – please research more carefully.

  • boybakal

    Nagrurunong runongan lang tong mga taga Pag Asa.
    Alam lang ng mga ito Bagyo…mintis pa kadalasan.

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