A SPECTACULAR show of shooting stars is set to take place tonight as the Lyrids Meteor shower peaks.
The Lyrids Meteor Shower, caused by the falling debris from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, occurs annually in mid-April as Earth travels through the trail of dust and tiny rocks left by the travelling comet.
This year, the meteor shower will peak on April 20 to 21, giving stargazers in the UK a chance to step outside from their lockdown to view the phenomenon from their gardens.
Lyrids is described as one of the most significant meteor showers, with shooting stars expected to occur up to 20 times an hour.
The Lyrids meteors look like they are coming from the constellation Lyra, meaning Lyra is the radiant.
The shower starts only after the radiant rises in the sky so onlookers should check times to know when to head out to look to the heavens.
An astronomer’s handy tip to look for Lyra is to seek out Vega – the brightest star in the constellation.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich said: “The best time to see the shower is in the early morning of the peak day, which this year is the morning of the 22 April (the night of the 21 April).
“Wait until after midnight when the radiant point, in the constellation of Lyra, will have risen in the East.
“The later in the morning you wait, the higher the radiant will rise and the fewer meteors will be hidden below the horizon. But the closer you get to sunrise the brighter the sky is going to become so plan accordingly.
“Then simply fill your view with the sky and wait. Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible – blanket optional but highly recommended. Reclining deckchairs make an even more comfortable way to view the sky.
“Also, even though summer is rapidly approaching, remember to wrap up warm.”
Clear skies are expected for tonight, giving stargazers the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower.
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