In pictures: Lyrid meteor shower dazzles skies with 18 shooting stars every hour

Stargazers were treated to a spectacular sight on Tuesday evening as the Lyrid meteor shower lit up the night sky with around 18 meteors every hour.

The celestial display is hit its peak on the night of April 21, with displays visible until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Lyrids take their name from the constellation of Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars appear to originate from.

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The meteors are pieces of debris falling from the Thatcher Comet, which is expected to return to the inner solar system in 2276 after a 415-year orbital period.

Meteor showers, or shooting stars, are caused when pieces of debris, known as meteorites, enter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of around 43 miles per second, burning up and causing streaks of light.

The Lyrids occur between 16 and 25 April every year.