The Lyrid meteor shower will reach its peak tomorrow morning when up to 18 shooting stars strike across the sky at all hours of about midnight.
Although the heavenly display will officially peak at noon on April 22, the best time to see it from the UK will be shortly after sunrise or before sunset, astronomers say.
Tania de Sales Marques, astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, said: ‘This meteor shower is expected to produce about 18 meteors per hour.’
However, he added that the Moon will be in a waxy waxing phase, meaning it will be quite bright in the sky, ‘so the conditions will not be very favorable’.
Astronomers say to look at the shower you should look into the northeast sky and find the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra, as they appear to have origin.
To locate where the Lyrid meteor shower will pass, use the brightest star in the constellation Lyra to find the ‘radiant,’ or the point where meteors appear to originate
The Lyrid may not be the brightest meteor shower, but it is one of the oldest seen and will be seen most on Thursday April 22
HOW DO I SEE THE LYRID METEOR SHOW?
The show is on from April 16 to 25, ramping up late on April 19 and peaking on April 22.
The Lyrid meteor shower is best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere, although it is visible from all over the world.
Rural areas away from city lights will provide a clearer view.
The best time to catch these ‘shooting stars’ is before dawn, when the moon has set.
Harp meteors should be the brightest lights in the sky apart from the moon.
They leave smoky paths that can last for several minutes.
Meteor showers, or shooting stars, are caused when pieces of debris, called meteorites, enter the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of about 43 miles per second.
They burn up in the atmosphere and cause streams of light as they speed across the sky – with varying numbers of large rocks visible at night.
The Lyrids take its name from the constellation of Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars appear to originate.
These meteors are pieces of debris falling from Gomed Thatcher, expected to return to the inner solar system in 2276.
The debris from his last visit was through the internal solar system, something that happens every 415 years.
Ms de Sales Marques said: ‘The Lyrids were seen as far back as 687 BC, the oldest known record of any meteor showers still visible today.
‘It’s a moderate shower with a few fireballs, nicknamed the Lyrid Fireballs.’
Those waiting to catch a glimpse of the meteors will also be able to see Vega, Lyra’s brightest star.
Ms de Sales Marques told PA: ‘Vega is one of the brightest stars in the sky and one of three stars that make up the Summer Triangle.
‘It will be easy to find this identifiable asterism in the sky before dawn.’
CELESTIAL EVENTS TO WATCH IN APRIL
March – April: Cyclone Orion is visible in the night sky now
April 22 and 23: Lyrid Meteor Shower – expected to hit these dates
April 27: Super Moon / Full Moon – it will be Super Moon this year
Vega is a pretty close to Earth star 25 light years away, placing her in our local stellar neighborhood and is the fifth brightest star in the night sky.
It’s just over twice the size of the sun but up to 40 times as luminous, with a surface temperature of 16,823 degrees Fahrenheit, almost twice the sun’s 9,941 ° F.
According to astronomers, the best way to see a meteor shower is to get as far away from artificial lights as possible and give your eyes time to adjust.
Ms de Sales Marques said: ‘It’s worth noting that meteors will be found all over the sky, not just in the direction of the radiant.
‘So to increase your chance of spotting meteors, find a safe place with unobstructed view of the whole sky.’
The Lyrides occur from April 16-25 each year and typically produce about 20 shooting stars per hour as the Earth passes through a comet debris field.
The next meteor shower, the Eta Aquarids, is expected to peak between midnight and dawn on May 5-6.
The coronavirus lockout measures have led to a spike in interest in astronomy, according to Wex Photo Video, which saw a 260% traffic jab to its astronomy department.
Particles from the comet Thatcher create the dust that forms the Lyrid meteor shower, named for the constellation Lyra
This coincided with news that there had been a notable fall in light pollution levels as a direct result of lockouts leading to reduced street activity.
CPRE, the Countryside charity, said this had led to increased visibility, based on the results of countrywide star counting.
Chris Grimmer, astrophotographer and spokesman for Wex Photo Video, said: ‘As the lock-down rules are relaxed and we can travel more freely, a trip out of the lights to a local dark sky area is worthwhile.
‘Turn out all the lights, keep your phones in your pockets and let your eyes adjust to the dark; The view will not disappoint. ‘
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASTEROID, COMET AND METEORITE?
The an asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A. comedy is a rock covered with ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
A. meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns.
These debris itself is called a meteoroid. Most are so small that they evaporate in the atmosphere.
If any of this meteoroid hits the Earth, it’s called meteorite.
Meteorites, meteoroids and meteorites usually originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if the Earth passes through a comet’s tail, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.