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Amazing meteor shower tonight, Monday and Tuesday night

Lockdown Britain is set for a twinkling treat as a meteor shower is set to light up the skies this week.

Turn your gaze skyward out your windows or grab a blanket and set up the deckchairs outdoors at your home to take in the spectacular lightshow.

Anywhere from ten to hundreds of meteors an hour are predicted to glitter across the Northern Hemisphere's night skies this week.

The annual meteor shower is expected to peak on Tuesday night and the best viewing time is just before dawn on Wednesday.

What is the Lyrid Meteor Shower and when can you see it?

The spectacular light shower is already underway but will be most visible in the United Kingdom and the United States early this week.

Experts say the peak viewing time will be late Tuesday night and into the early hours of Wednesday, with observations are affected by the phases of the moon and local weather conditions.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower occurs every April - putting on a spectacular light-show for stargazers.

Shooting stars appear as dust from the Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and interact with the Earth’s atmosphere.

When this dust enters Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up, producing a trail of light through the sky.

It takes its name from the Lyra constellation, from which the meteors appear to radiate.

While it is due to start tonight, the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower will be overnight on April 21-22, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com.

The Lyrids will be visible beginning at about 10:30pm, but are best viewed in the darkness after midnight and when urban lights have been switched off as households turn in for bed.

The best time to watch is after midnight and before the light of dawn, the expert said.

Check the weather forecast in your area to determine the prime time overnight to skygaze.

The phenomenon's peak visibility time of Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning is due to the phase of the moon.

It will be a thin crescent only about two days from the new moon at that time, Mr Cooke said, so the moonlight won't drown out the light-show.

Visibility will depend on how clear and dark the night sky where you live is, Cooke said.

 

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Updated on January 27th, 2013

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