First meteor shower of spring to grace UAE skies

The phenomenon – called the Lyrids – will be at its peak on Wednesday night

The first meteor shower of spring will present a stellar show over the country this week, becoming slightly visible on Monday night and reaching top intensity late on Wednesday.

At the shower’s peak, 18 meteors per hour will shoot across the sky.

Named the Lyrids after the Lyra constellation, they are active each year from April 16 to 25, but are usually at their brightest on April 22 and 23.

With cloudy weather forecast on Monday and Tuesday, the shower is likely to be most visible on Wednesday evening. The coming new moon, on April 23, will coincide with the shower’s peak.

Better viewing conditions are expected from 10pm until sunrise, as there will be little lunar interference.

The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers and include ‘fireballs’ created by debris from comet Thatcher. They date back to 687BC and were first spotted by the Chinese, Nasa said.

The comet takes about 415 years to orbit the Sun and it is expected to be visible to humans again in the year 2276.

No special equipment is needed to watch the meteor shower but with the stay-home order in place, residents can watch the live stream or observe the phenomenon from their balconies or gardens.