The Lyrids meteor shower will reach its peak this week, filling the night sky above the UK with shooting stars.
The Lyrids are the first major meteor shower of the year. Providing the weather stays clear, astronomy fans will have a good chance of seeing a meteor.
This year, the Lyrids meteor shower will peak on the early morning of Thursday, April 22.
Although this will be the best time for viewing the meteors, you’ll still be able to see the occasional shower one night on either side of the day.
Although the weather is warming up, it’ll still be very chilly during the night – so if you’re going meteor hunting, remember to wrap up warm.
Make sure to get away from any light pollution for the best view possible.
When is the best time to see the Lyrids meteor shower?
Experts reckon the meteor shower will begin to intensify late at night on Monday, April 19.
It will likely then peak in the predawn hours of Thursday, April 22.
And the following morning, right before dawn, on April 23, may also give you a good opportunity to see them.
To see it look for the Big Dipper or The Plough (they’re the same thing, but actually they’re back end of the Great Bear constellation).
You should see streaks of light blazing through the night sky before too long.
How many meteors will I see during the peak?
During the peak hours, skywatchers will be treated to between 10 and 15 meteors per hour.
The best way to see them is to relax and not focus on any specfic part of the sky.
Your eyes will naturally pick up on the movement of the meteor after you’ve become accustomed to the darkness.
Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Ed Bloom explains people must be ‘patient.’
He said: ‘it could be an hour before you see anything, so wrap up warm and get comfy in your garden.’
What causes the Lyrids meteor shower?
The meteors themselves come from a cloud of debris caused by the comet C/186 Thatcher. Every year the Earth passes through this cloud of debris and we call it the Lyrids because the shooting stars appear to originate from the constellation Lyra.
‘Known for their fast, bright meteors, the Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers. They originate from comet Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861,’ explains the UK Met Office.
‘The Lyrid meteor shower is named as such because it appears to radiate from the constellation Lyra, though it is better to view the Lyrids away from this constellation so they appear longer and more impressive.’
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