Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pi Puppids in Progress

We are just at the end of the Pi Puppid meteor shower, a southern-hemisphere shower. This shower is not regularly visible to the naked eye, though it can be seen on radar. Meteors from this shower fall from April 21 to 26 with the peak on April 24/25. The meteors have an irregular rate, but average 40 per hour. The meteors appear to radiate from a point near the star Pi Puppis in the constellation of Puppis, the Stern (deck) (RA 07hr 28min, Dec -45°). The parent of this shower is comet 26P/Grigg-Skjellerup. The shower was discovered in 1972 and has been observed about every five years, when the parent comet reaches perihelion. The next perihelion will be July 6, 2013, so next year's shower may give the southern hemisphere a good show. To learn more about meteors, check out these helpful URLs.

Meteor Showers: Shooting for Shooting Stars (a NASA Asteroid Watch news release):

Asteroids, Comets, Meteorites (a NASA Asteroid Watch article):

NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) Program coordinates NASA-sponsored efforts to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth. To learn more, visit the home page of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program:


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