Your chance to see a stunning meteor shower tonight
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Keep your eyes on the skies tonight as you could see up to 100 shooting stars an hour during the Lyrid meteor shower.
If the weather is in our favour and the moon isn’t too bright, the sky will be lit up by hundreds of shooting stars late this evening.
The Lyrid meteor shower – which takes place annually and is named after the constellation Lyra – is set to peak late on Tuesday, April 21 into the hours of Wednesday morning.
This is not to be confused with the SpaceX Starlink, which has been spotted over the skies of Suffolk for the past two evenings.
The starlink is a cluster of around 300 satellites which were launched by entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company Starlink and are being used to provide remote locations across the world with low-cast internet.
What is a meteor shower?
A meteor shower occurs when Earth passes through the debris stream occupying the orbit of a comet - meaning a number of meteors flash across the sky from roughly the same point.
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These meteors are known more commonly as shooting stars – despite having nothing to do with actual stars.
What is a Lyrid meteor shower?
The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers and according to some historical Chinese texts, the first shower was seen more than 2,500 years ago.
In a dark sky, you can expect to see around 10 to 15 meteors an hour around the shower’s peak. However, the Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 every hour – meaning the sky will be lit up with tons of shooting stars.
No matter where you are on Earth, the greatest number of meteors tend to fall during the few hours before dawn.
How do I see it?
All you really need is a clear sky and a lot of patience (and maybe some snacks to keep you occupied).
You don’t need any special equipment to see the Lyrid meteor shower, but it will be even clearer through binoculars or a telescope.
Some astronomers recommend finding a secluded viewing spot away from sources of light pollution such as street lights, giving you the best possible chance of seeing the meteor shower.
However, due to being in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, your garden will have to make do for 2020!
Send your photos of the Lyrid meteor shower here.