People are encouraged to watch the stars Thursday morning to catch the Lyrid meteor shower.
Up to 18 meteors per hour are expected to light up the sky in one of the heaviest downpours of the year.
Astronomers say it’s best to watch the celestial display early in the morning or after sunset and in an area with the least amount of light pollution.
Astronomers won’t have the best conditions, as the moon will be in a waxing gibbous phase – which means it will be bright in the sky.
The display will peak at 1 p.m. UK time on April 22, but it will be more difficult to spot for now.
The Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers and were first observed in 687 BC by the Chinese, according to NASA.
Meteor showers – also known as shooting stars – are caused when debris or meteorites enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn.
The phenomenon means that stunning streaks of light can be seen across the sky.
Lyrids are meteors falling from Comet Thatcher, which is expected to return to the Inner Solar System in 2276.
They get their name from the constellation Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars seem to come from.
NASA recommends that anyone wishing to attend the exhibit find a location well away from city or street lights and bring a sleeping bag, blanket, or lounge chair.
They should then lie flat on their backs with their feet facing east and look up.
It will take about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness before you start seeing meteors.
Tania de Sales Marques, astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, said the shower will have “occasional fireballs, dubbed the Lyrid Fireballs”.
The Lyrides take place from April 16 to 25 each year.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-21 18:47:00