If you love star gazing, be prepared for a shower of meteors that is one of the earliest known to astronomers.

The Lyrid shower occurs in April every year and if the weather is clear and good, those in the UK will be treated to an exhibition of the best that the universe has to offer. If there are no clouds, you should be able to spot at least twenty shooting hours per hour.

Luckily, this always happens in spring so even if you stay up all night to stargaze you won’t catch a chill. It is probably the one meteor shower we can rely on for sure every year.

It happens because the Earth’s orbit takes it through fragments from comet C/186 G1 Thatcher which takes over four centuries to complete one orbit around the Sun.

Here’s all that information you need about what will happen this year.

When does the Lyrid meteor shower peak?

While the shower will continue from the 16th of April to the 25th, it will be at its zenith on the 21st and the 22nd. The perfect viewing time would be from midnight till sun rise on 22nd.

What is the best place to see the meteor shower?

Those who live towards the North, especially in the European countries are at the perfect spots to view the shower. But no matter where you are, you will be able to view it if you can go to a place where there is no light.

What is the Lyrid meteor shower?

The Lyrid shower gets its name from the constellation Lyra and is one of the earliest that we know of. When Earth travels through the area where there are many fragments left behind by a comet, C/186 Thatcher, those fragments crash and burn through the atmosphere which is what we see as shooting stars.

Is there anything special I need to do to see them from the UK?

If it is a cloudless night, make sure you are dressed warmly and take at least half an hour to get accustomed to the dark outside. Pick a place to sit and then turn your eyes to the heavens. Look in the direction of the star Vega.

Do I need any special kit?

Just use your eyes and be patient. The meteor shower won’t be continuous so there will be clear spells in the middle.

What if I can’t be bothered to go outside?

That’s what the internet is for. Just follow this link.


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