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Lyrid meteors to sear Sunday's skies

A show for insomniacs everywhere

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Mark your diaries now for some shooting stars this weekend, as the annual Lyrid meteor shower is coming to town.

The Lyrids are one of the oldest known meteor showers, with records going back to 687BC (thank you ancient Chinese astronomers).

The number of meteors in any shower has diminished over the years, but it could still be worth staying up late for. There is no suggestion that this will happen this year, but in 1982 everyone got a bit of a shock when the display reached peak rates of around 200 shooting stars per hour.

The show should be at its best on Sunday night through into Monday morning, with a peak rate of around 10-20 meteors per hour. The light from the waxing moon will be less of a distraction after midnight.

But even now the showers should provide good entertainment for stargazers, insomniacs, and parents of teething children with up to six meteors burning up in the atmosphere every hour. ®

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