Lyrids meteor shower 2022: celestial display to light up the sky

Nasa says the meteors have been observed for 2,700 years

Stargazers will be treated to up to 18 meteors an hour when the Lyrids meteor shower lights up the sky on Saturday morning.

The celestial display is expected to peak at 12am EDT on Saturday morning, according to EarthSky.

These meteors are pieces of debris falling from the Thatcher Comet, which is expected to return to the inner solar system in 2276, after an orbital period of 415 years.

The shower's radiant – the area where meteors appear to originate – is the Lyra constellation, which is how the shower got its name.

The Lyrids have been observed for 2,700 years, Nasa said.

Under a dark sky with no moon, lucky viewers could see 10 to 15 Lyrids per hour. The meteors are known for their unexpected surges that could reach as fast as 160kph.

Those stargazing under a moonless sky could potentially also see a glow that lasts for a few seconds once the meteor has passed.

A bright sky could drown out the less radiant Lyrids, making them harder to see.

The radiant is far north of the sky's dome, so those hoping to view the show in the Southern Hemisphere may not see as many of the Lyrids dashing through the sky.

And if stargazers miss the display, or simply have not had enough of exploring the sky, there will still be plenty to look out for as Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn and the Moon line up along the horizon on Sunday.

Despite appearing from Earth to be lined up, these types of alignments – sometimes known as planetary parades – occur only from our perspective here on the Earth, and are not actually lined up in space.

The planets will be visible with the naked eye, and no specialist equipment is necessary.

Watch: Meteor spectacularly lights up Texas

PA contributed to this report

Updated: April 23, 2022, 6:38 AM
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