Lyrid meteor shower: NASA's all-sky cameras capture fireballs
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The Lyrids meteor shower will provide stargazers with up to 20 shooting stars per hour when it reaches its peak tonight. The Lyrids, 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.
How can you see the Lyrids meteor shower?
The obvious answer is to look up when it gets dark, but there are handy tips to maximise the chances of seeing the shooting stars.
The best time to see the Lyrids is shortly after midnight.
Around 10 shooting stars per hour will be visible until around 4am BST, shortly before the Sun rises.
The Lyrids meteors look like they are coming from the constellation Lyra, meaning Lyra is the radiant.
In Lyra is the bright star Vega, which can be easily spotted.
According to Earthsky, the best way to see Vega is to look northeast in the night’s sky.
Vega is the bluish star above the northeast horizon, which can easily be found using a stargazing app.
It is also best to find a spot away from any light pollution.
The Royal Greenwich Observatory said: “As with all meteor showers, the main thing for seeing the Lyrids is to find a dark site with an unobstructed view of the sky.
“The number of meteors you actually see will depend on all sorts of things, from the time of night to the level of background light.
“A bright sky will drown out the fainter meteors making them much more difficult to see.
“Unfortunately, this year the Lyrids coincides with a gibbous Moon. This means you already have to contend with a near-full moon’s worth of stray light.
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“Keeping away from city lights will at least give you a good chance of seeing some meteors.”
Thankfully, clouds should be sparse this evening, giving stargazers a good view.
The Met Office said of tonight’s forecast: “Cloud clearing to leave a dry and clear night with a widespread frost, particularly in central and eastern parts.”
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