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Clear skies ahead of meteor shower

Published 22/04/2015

Lyrid meteors leave luminous streaks across the sky as they burn up in the atmosphere
Lyrid meteors leave luminous streaks across the sky as they burn up in the atmosphere

Clear skies are likely to provide a perfect celestial stage for the Lyrid meteor shower across much of the UK tonight.

On average 15 to 20 of the shooting stars can be seen an hour, though an especially active Lyrid shower produced around 90 an hour in 1982.

The meteors, sand-like particles shed by Comet Thatcher, leave luminous streaks across the sky as they burn up in the atmosphere.

They are most active in the night sky between April 16 and 25, peaking tonight and tomorrow.

Chris Burton, meteorologist with forecasting service The Weather Network, said: "With high pressure dominating the weather this week, much of the country has seen clear skies, providing perfect viewing conditions for the meteor shower.

"Wednesday night looks largely clear across a large swathe of the country, with Northern Ireland, south-west Scotland, Wales and western England likely to have the best chance of largely clear skies."

Dr Radmila Topalovic, an astronomer from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in London, said: "The best place to see the Lyrids is to find an open field where you can see the whole of the night sky. The best time is a few hours after midnight where you can expect to see most of the bright streaks in the early hours of the morning.

"Scan the sky over the course of the night as the meteors can pop out from any direction."

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