Stargazers get a special treat this weekend, as the Lyrid Meteor Shower will drench the night sky in light.
One of the oldest annual showers that mankind has ever recorded will be easily seen as meteors shoot across the sky on April 21 and 22.
2018 is set to be a great year to watch the shower, as the quarter moon sets soon after midnight, creating a dark sky just as the show begins.
Stretching all the way back to 687BC, the Lyrids shower was first documented by Chinese astronomers, describing the shower as “stars that fell like rain.”
During the display, 15 to 20 meteors per hour will crash through Earth’s atmosphere, travelling at nearly 110,000 miles per hour.
The meteors are caused as Earth crosses the path of Comet Thatcher, or C/1861 G1.
Stargazers can often expect nearly 200 meteors to pass through space by at the peak.
Sky-watchers should also be on the lookout for fireballs, which are space rocks that and can be as large as a golf ball or even a basketball when they hit the atmosphere and so are brighter than average meteors.
Where and how to watch Lyrids Meteor Shower
The best place to see the meteor shower will be deep in the countryside, where light pollution is at its lowest, between 1am and 2am.
No special equipment is needed, but experts recommend lying down and looking directly upwards to maximise your field of vision.
Several of the brightest meteors will leave a trail of fading light for several seconds as they shoot through the atmosphere, creating the ‘shooting star’ effect.
The best time to look, the website EarthSky recommends, is right before dawn. That’s when the shower will be nearly directly overhead.
NASA meteor shower expert Bill Cooke added: “While the Lyrid meteor shower appears to radiate outward from the constellation Lyra, looking straight at the constellation isn’t a good idea.
“The last thing you want to do is look at Lyra, which is the direction of the radiant, because the meteors in that direction have very short tails and will appear as a dot to you.
“The best thing to do with any meteor shower is to go out there, lie on your back and look straight up.”
This is not the only meteor shower you can expect this year.
The Eta Aquarids will alight the sky on May 6 and 7. Then, the Perseids, arguably the best meteor shower of the year, will peak around August 13.
After that, the Orionids appear in October, and the Leonids in November.