From midnight tonight, fast, bright meteors could light up the skies over Britain – providing the light of the moon doesn’t get in the way too much.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower will be visible until the 25th, peaking tonight and tomorrow night.
The Met Office says, ‘The best time to view it will be after midnight and before dawn. Known for their fast, bright meteors, the Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers.’
‘The Lyrid meteor shower is named as such because it appears to radiate from the constellation Lyra, though it is better to view the Lyrids away from this constellation so they appear longer and more impressive.’
The annual display is caused by the Earth passing through a cloud of debris from a comet
called C/186 Thatcher.
Chinese astronomers wrote about the Lyrids in 687BC, writing ‘at midnight, stars fell like rain’.
There’s no need to take binoculars or a telescope with you, just find a suitably dark area and hope there’s not too much cloud.
You don’t need to go anywhere special to see it from the UK – just go outside and give your eyes half an hour to get used to the dark.
To see it look for the Big Dipper or The Plough (they’re the same thing, but actually they’re back end of the Great Bear constellation).