Meteor shower visible this weekend

A once-a-year meteor shower will light up Perth’s sky this weekend.

Up to 20 meteors are expected to be visible when the Lyrid shower reaches its peak on Sunday.

Mark Woods, from the Perth Observatory, said the best time to view the shower would be at 2am on Sunday.

“It will be viewable from 1am, but if you go out about 2am, that is when it should be at its peak,” he said.

“To see it, start looking north-east from about one o’clock, and just progressively look to the north throughout the night.”

The annual shower happens between April 16 and April 25 each year, when the Earth passes through the tail of a comet.

The radiant – the point in the sky from which the meteors come – lies near Vega, which is one of the brightest stars at this time of the year.

Mr Woods said it was best to view the meteor shower from country areas, but open areas away from light also provided a good view.

“Country areas are the best, but areas where there is no light around, so local parks, are a good place,” he said.

“Perth hills, Mundaring Weir and around there would be good as well.”

For those willing to travel further, Narrogin, Gingin and Toodyay offered open skies away from city lights.

But rain could end up blocking the view.

“They are expecting a lot of rain on the weekend so there is probably not going to be too much viewing, unfortunately,” Mr Woods said.

“It is not a particularly big meteor shower for us because we are so low down in hemisphere.”

The Lyrids were created from debris from a comet discovered in 1861 and have been visible for the last 1,000 years.

When describing the shower in 687 BC, Chinese astronomers said “stars fell like rain”.