Lyrid meteor shower UK: when does it peak this week?

The Lyrid meteor shower is the first of the major meteor showers of the year and it goes on for several days each April.

The Lyrids will peak tonight, Tuesday April 21.

So the good news is you want to see shooting stars – this evening is the best chance you’ll have wherever you are in the UK.

In fact, the Lyrids will run on until Saturday, April 25. Although the number of meteors you’ll spot will diminish as we move past the peak.

The meteors themselves come from a cloud of debris caused by the comet C/186 Thatcher. Every year the Earth passes through this cloud of debris and we call it the Lyrids because the shooting stars appear to originate from the constellation Lyra.

‘Known for their fast, bright meteors, the Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers. They originate from comet Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861,’ explains the UK Met Office.

‘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.’

How can I watch the Lyrid meteor shower tonight?

You won’t need a telescope or any special equipment to see them yourself, you can simply head out to your garden, or a well-positioned window.

The best time to view the shower is between midnight and dawn, and they’re more visible under dark, clear skies.

They are generally less visible in cities with light pollution.

Remember to wrap up warm, as you could be outside for a while, as you likely won’t be able to see them straight away.

Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Ed Bloom told Sky News that people must be ‘patient.’

He said: ‘it could be an hour before you see anything, so wrap up warm and get comfy in your garden.’

In terms of where to look – fix your view on the Plough constellation and before long you should start seeing some meteors.

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