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Lyrid meteor shower
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A meteor shower will light up the sky this week

The Lyrid meteor shower is coming – here’s when, where and how to catch it

By
James Manning
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Stargazing has got big over the last year – after all, there hasn’t been much else to do except eat, work and worry. And while our movements have been a tad restricted, it’s been especially comforting to spot the regular showers of meteors whizzing around the sky like they always do.

Meteors or shooting stars are celestial debris which burn up as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere, turning into beautiful, sparkling flashes of light. Traditionally, one of the most spectacular displays is the Lyrid meteor shower, which appears for ten or so nights every April, and is visible all around the world.

In 2021 the after-dark show kicked off around April 15. It peaks on the night of April 22-23, when you might be able to see a shooting star stream across the sky every four minutes – given clear skies, of course.

Unfortunately, this year’s Lyrids will be competing with a nearly-full, extra-bright moon, which means it’s unlikely to be a vintage year. However, the meteors are visible worldwide and you don’t need any special equipment – so if you’re awake after midnight, it’s still worth looking up and trying to spot the odd magical streak of fire across the sky.

And if you can safely get to a nearby dark-sky area, even better – here are the best stargazing spots in the UK and the USA

Now mark your calendar for the rest of 2021’s shooting stars, eclipses, meteor showers and planetary alignments!

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