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The Lyrid Meteor Shower-Love lost in the stars: this week on the Night Sky

Earth Day happens later this week, on Friday, which is also coincident with the oldest meteor shower in recorded history, the Lyrid’s, which is caused by Comet Thatcher, but gets its name from the constellation Lyra.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that astronomers began to figure out that meteor showers are related to comets, but historical records show that the stars falling through the sky from the Lyrid Meteor Shower were recorded as early as 2600 years ago!

The constellation Lyra is a stringed instrument known as a lyre, or a harp.  This instrument belonged to the Greek musical master Orpheus, a son of the Muses, who was so accomplished in its use that he could charm the rocks, the trees, even the gods themselves.

Orpheus fell in love with the maiden Eurydice, and they were married. But their joy was brief, because immediately following their vows, Eurydice went walking through a meadow with her bridesmaids and was bitten by a venomous snake, and she died.

Heartstricken, Orpheus determined to go down to the world of death and try to bring Eurydice back, and he made it, all the way to an audience with the King and Queen of the Underworld. They were so charmed by his love and his song, that they summoned Eurydice, and gave her back to him, on one condition: That he would not look back at her until they had reached to light of day in the upper world.

Radiant for the Lyrid a Meteor Shower, rising up in the northeast

They passed through the great doors of Hades and began their journey, and soon Orpheus was emerging from the tunnel. He longed to know that she was behind him, but he looked too soon, for she had not yet emerged. He saw her in the dim light, but then, in an instant, she was gone to him forever.

It’s a heart breaking story of love lost, but if you go out to wish on the falling stars of the Lyrid Meteor Shower later this week, maybe you can dedicate a few of your wishes to love fulfilled!