Q&A: What you need to know about the Lyrid meteor shower

Stargazers can look forward to catching the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend, as astronomers say it will reach its peak in the early hours of Sunday.

Here is what you need to know.

What is the Lyrid meteor shower?

The shower takes place around this time every year, and although it is not the most impressive, it is typically reliable.

It is named after the Lyra constellation – the star which it appears to come from.

The meteors, which appear as shooting stars, are actually pieces of debris which fall from the Thatcher Comet. It is expected to return in 2276, after a 415-year orbital period.

What time will I be able to see it?

Stargazers can expect to see around 10 meteors an hour (Danny Lawson/PA)

Some 15 to 20 meteors will be produced per hour, but only about 10 of those will be visible to the eye, due to a restricted view of the sky and light pollution in large cities.

Because the Moon is in its crescent phase, it shouldn’t drown out the shower too much.

How long does it last for?

Experts advise against using a telescope or binoculars to view the event (Andrew Milligan/PA)

This year’s meteor shower began on Monday April 16, and will end around Wednesday April 25.

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