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'Rarest Meteor Shower' - April 22, 2013

Outline
Message circulating via social media claims that on the night of April 22, 2013, people on Earth will have a chance to view one of the rarest meteor showers, with thousands of "shooting stars" visible in the night sky.


Courtesy of NASA - 2012 Lyrid Meteor Shower



Brief Analysis
It is true that a meteor shower will be visible around the dates specified in the message. The Lyrid meteor shower will reach its peak this year during the night of April 22 - 23, 2013, although it will be visible for several days before and after. However, this meteor shower is not particularly rare. In fact, it takes place around the same time each and every year. The message, which circulates in the form of a graphic is an altered variant of a 2012 message that featured another annual meteor shower, Perseid.

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Example
Meteor Showers April 13
During the night on April 22 2013, people on Earth will have a chance to see one of the rarest meteor shower. During the night you will be able to see thousands of these falling stars until April 23, 2013, these meteors will have best visibility during the night of April 22, 2013 .

There is a predicted number of about 20 meteors an hour with possible surges of 100 per hour . Spread This Message, so people can enjoy.

Detailed Analysis
According to this message, which circulates in the form of a graphic, people on Earth will be treated to one of the rarest meteor showers on the night of April 22nd and 23rd, 2013. The message explains that watchers will be able to view around 20 meteors per hour on the night, with possible surges of 100 per hour. The message asks that recipients share the information so that others may also enjoy the event.



The claims in the message are basically true. The Lyrid meteor shower will be visible between April 16 and April 26, 2013 and will reach its peak on the night of April 22 - 23. Between five and twenty meteors per hour will streak across the night sky, with an average of around ten per hour. Uncommonly, the rate can climb as high as 100 meteors per hour.

A report on wunderground.com about the 2013 Lyrids notes:

Set to make their annual spring return on the night of April 22-23 – though it begins as early as April 16 and can last through April 26 – the Lyrids are named for the constellation Lyra, where they originate near the star called Alpha Lyrae, or Vega.

They've been observed in the night sky for some 2,600 years – the Lyrids' first sighting was recorded in China in 687 BCE – and come from dust particles in the tail generated by the Comet Thatcher.

The Lyrids will certainly be a spectacular show for those star-gazers who get to view it.

However, Lyrid cannot really be considered "one of the rarest meteor shower" as suggested in the message. In fact, the Lyrid meteor shower occurs each and every year around the same time. Each year, it is accurately predicted and discussed at length on many different astronomy related websites and forums. Thus, there is nothing particularly rare or unusual about it.

Who ever created this message apparently did so by altering a previous message about another annual meteor shower - Perseid - that was also incorrectly billed as a rare event. As the following 2012 example reveals, they used the same background graphic and almost the same message:

Meteor Showers August


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Last updated: April 11, 2013
First published: April 11, 2013
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Everything you need to know: Lyrid meteor shower
EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2013
See the Lyrid Meteor Shower: April 16-26
Meteor Showers August 2012




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