Keep an eye on the sky for shooting stars this week

How To See The Meteor Shower?

The shower occurs this time each year when Earth's orbit crosses paths with that of Comet Thatcher.

Known as one of the oldest visible meteor showers in history, the first sightings of the Lyrid meteor shower go back as far as 2,700 years.

Even those these meteors will radiate out from the bright star of Vega, you don't need to locate that or fix on a certain position. The meteor shower will stay active for 10 days, with Wednesday being the peak of the light show. The chart shows the view looking north-east from London on 22 April at 11pm BST.

According to astronomers, optimal viewing is in the few hours before dawn no matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. When these leftover pieces of space debris collide with the earth's atmosphere, they disintegrate to create colourful and fiery streaks, making a marvelous spectacle of many shooting stars illuminating the night sky.

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The first meteor shower of the spring will soar over MA this week and peak on Wednesday morning, the same day people across the globe will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day from home.

The next year that Earthlings can observe Thatcher will be in 2276 as the Comet comes with a 415-year orbital period. Sharp observers should be able to spot about 10 to 20 meteors per hour in optimal viewing conditions.

While a pair of binoculars would be great, no special equipment is required to watch the Lyrids.

We should consider ourselves very lucky to witness a meteor shower like the ongoing Lyrid.

It's important to wrap up warm as you might be sitting still for a long time - don't get cold! There are many mobile apps that are readily available online for free. "After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors". Just enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

  • Douglas Reid