Lyrids meteor shower April 22-23, 2014 [Peak times]: April's skies to see four blood moons, star show, and Mars
The universe has a lot to offer us this spring and those who watch the skies are preparing for April's rare events. Along with the four blood moons that the Earth will get a glimpse of in the 2014-2015 season, the Huntsville Times reports that on April 14, Mars will be pretty close to the Earth. Only 57 million miles away (92.4 million kilometers) to be exact.
On April 8, the planets will be at opposition. This means that Mars, Earth and the sun are in a straight line. This happens every 26 months. This time around, however, the event will put Mars at its closest point to the Earth since Jan. 3, 2008, says Space.com. The site also reports that Mars will look just like a bright, fiery-colored star, resembling Sirius, the brightest star in the universe.
April will also bring The Lyrids Meteor shower, (a collection of meteors) expected to happen after midnight on April 22. Onlookers will be able to see at least 20 meteors an hour.Jane Houston Jones of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained in a blog post that the meteors are expected to put on a bright display in the sky.
Dr Tony Phillips, also of NASA , explained in another blog post that the meteors, which he refers to as flakes of comet dust, are no bigger than grains of sand and will strike the Earth's atmosphere at 110,000 miles per hour before disintegrating and giving off streaks of light.
Viewers can expect to watch the meteor shower without binoculars or telescopes, Space.com reports. Those watching will be able to view the shower until 2 a.m.
Pope Francis used his Christmas blessing to call for an end to fighting in Syria and the Holy Land.
Pope Francis said on Saturday that Christmas had been "taken hostage" by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry, the migrants and the war weary.
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