The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to light up dawn skies in parts of the country this weekend, with as many as 18 meteors an hour expected.
According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, there will be bright, fast meteors – some with trails of trains or evaporated rocks.
Here’s everything you need to know to maximize your chances of seeing it.
When is the best time to watch it?
The showing will be at its peak in the early hours of Sunday, April 23rd and will be visible until dawn.
It will be active from April 14th to 30th, but Saturday night to Sunday morning will be the best chance to see it.
Don Pollacco, professor of physics at the University of Warwick, said: “The best time to watch these is after midnight on a moonless night, with as little light pollution as possible.
“You’ll need somewhere comfortable to sit because this meteor shower only produces about 20 meteors an hour – if you’re lucky!”
Where is the best place to watch it?
The most important thing is to find a dark place with an unobstructed view of the sky.
Fortunately, the peak occurs just after new moon, so the moon’s light pollution won’t spoil the view.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich recommends wrapping up in warm clothes and lying down with a blanket – or a chaise longue if you’d like a more comfortable experience.
Will it be great weather for stargazing?
Unfortunately, most of the UK doesn’t have the best weather for stargazing.
Northern Scotland looks likely to get its best weather yet, with mostly sunny skies forecast for Saturday, but low clouds and fog will continue to plague the north-east coast.
elsewhere, risk of showers in most places Or if it rains for a long time, it will feel very cold.
What is a meteor shower? Where do Lyrid meteors come from?
Meteor showers, or shooting stars, are caused when fragments of debris, called meteorites, enter Earth’s atmosphere at about 43 miles per second and burn up, creating bands of light.
In this case, the debris came from Comet Thatcher, which is expected to return to the inner Solar System in 2276 after an orbital period of 415 years.
Professor Polaco said: “As the comet orbits the sun, the action of energy evaporates the material in the comet’s nucleus, which we think of as the comet’s tail.
“The resulting gas and dust stay in the comet’s orbit, even long after the comet has moved along its orbit.
“If the Earth crossed the comet’s orbit, any material deposited by the comet could become meteors or meteors in the sky.
“These objects are usually only the size of dust grains, but when they fall into the Earth’s atmosphere, they move so fast that they get vaporized.
“Along the path that the dust particles travel, the gas molecules superheat and emit light — that’s the meteor.
“We don’t actually see the dust, but its evaporative effect on the molecules.”