10 Things for the Week of April 21 - April 27
19 April 2013
1. METEOR SHOWER
Humans have been watching the Lyrid meteor shower for almsot three millennia. The annual shower peaks this week on Monday. The Lyrids aren't the biggest meteor shower, churning out about 10-15 meteors per hour. The annual sky show is courtesy of Earth passing through the debris trail of comet Comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher).
2. PRODUCTIVE WEEKEND
The International Space Apps Challenge is underway. Virtual and real-life events are scheduled around the planet on April 20-21. Join in.
3. ANTARES LAUNCH TEST
Last week's test of the Antares launch vehicle has been postponed until Saturday, April 20. Launched from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility, the launch offers a rare chance to be seen from major cities on the East Coast. Rocket manufacturer Orbital Science even created a handy visual aid. You can also watch on NASA TV.
4. CELEBRATE YOUR HOME PLANET
April 22 is Earth Day. Plant a tree. Pick up some trash. Celebrate your home planet.
5. MIGHTY HUBBLE
Twenty-three years ago this week, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope (pictured above) on a mission that literally changed the way we look at our universe.
6. FIVE DECADES OF EXPLORATION
Spacecraft have been out there exploring the planets for more than 50 years. We asked the experts to reminisce about the greatest moments in our new history section.
7. JUST PASSING BY
We're used to Cassini's great pics and science from Saturn, but 15 years ago (April 26) it turned its instruments on Venus during a gravity assist maneuver to hurl it into the outer solar system.
8. A BIT OF A LUNAR ECLIPSE
This year's first lunar eclipse happens on April 25. It's a partial eclipse, visible only in eastern Europe or Africa, central Asia or western Australia. NASA Eclipse expert Fred Espenak says this event is barely partial with just a tiny bit of the moon's northern limb dipping into umbral shadow.
9. ASTEROID No. 9
Back in 1848, asteroids were a rare thing. Only eight were know to exist. Irish Astronomer Andrew Graham added to the list with the April 25 discovery of asteroid 9 Metis.
10. LAST CHANCE TO VOTE
This week is your last chance to vote for your favorites among the Best of the Best Web sites. Polls close Thursday. NASA sites and social media accounts got five nominations this year.
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