Space heads rejoice, we have a meteor shower overhead.
The Lyrids Meteor Shower, one of the oldest known visible meteor showers, is due to spark up a little later this year, due around April 22 Australia time.
The astral event, first spotted by human beings 2700 years ago, will see approximately 10-18 meteors per hour pelt through the night sky. It will be visible from across the globe, but Aussies will have their best shot at catching the fireworks just after midnight on Wednesday.
The Lyrids, which occurs each year when the Earth’s orbit intercepts paths with the Comet Thatcher, is expected to be on display for two days.
Thatcher is responsible for some of the richest meteor displays seen from our floating home, shedding huge chunks of material while hurtling through space at speeds over 177,000 kilometres per hour.
“Examples of (large) outbursts occurred in 1922 and 1982 as a result of the planets ‘pushing’ the comet’s debris trail closer to Earth,” reports Astronomy Trek.
“Under these conditions, which happen on average once every 60 years, the Lyrids can produce meteor counts of several hundred per hour.”
Likely originating from the Oort cloud, Thatcher is classed as an intermediate long-period comet, which typically have orbital periods that range from 200 years to more than 10,000 years.
Observers way back in 1808 reported a whopping 700 meteors per hour during the year’s Lyrid shower, however no such drama is expected for the 2021 shower.
Experts recommend you adjust your eyes to the night sky for 20 minutes before going stargazing.
For the best experience, steer clear of major cities and cross your fingers for a clear night, which might just be on the cards with east coast cloud activity expected to clear up by Wednesday.