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Every April hundreds of meteoroids crash into Earth’s atmosphere, creating stunning displays of ‘shooting stars’ and this weekend they will reach their peak.
Visible from around the world but best seen from Europe, the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower has been observed for the past 2,700 years.
Show - Tomorrow - Morning - April - Meteors
The show is best seen tomorrow morning (22 April) with up to 20 meteors streaking across the sky every hour before dawn.
Although most meteors are just pieces of dust or rock smaller than a grain of sand, they slice into the upper atmosphere at speeds of more than 100,000mph (161,000kmph).
Speed - Trails - Fire - Miles - Heads
This speed causes them to burn up in spectacular trails of fire 50 to 70 miles above our heads, leaving smokey trails that can last for several minutes.
The best place to see the meteors is in rural areas away from city lights.
Stargazers - East - Chance - Shower
Hopeful stargazers should look east for the best chance of catching a shower.
Lyrid meteors should be the brightest lights in the sky - apart from the moon - and will be streaking across our skies continuously between 16 and 25 April.
Lyrid - Meteor - Shower - Name - Radiant
The Lyrid Meteor Shower got its name because the radiant (from where the meteor trails seem to radiate from) lies in the constellation Lyra.
The debris come from the orbit of the comet Thatcher.
Thatcher - Earth - Sun - Years - Orbit
Although Thatcher is far from Earth - it orbits the sun once ever 415 years in a long, elliptical orbit - debris is spread out far along its path.
While meteor showers create streaks in the sky that can be seen...
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