Skygazers can look forward to catching the Lyrid meteor shower on Thursday evening, with up to 18 meteors per hour expected to light up the dawn skies.

The celestial display is expected to peak at 1pm UK time on April 22, but astronomers say the best time to see it would be before sunrise or after sunset.

Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “Since the peak occurs during the day the best time to try to spot the shower will be before sunrise on the 22nd or after sunset.

“It is worth mentioning that meteors will be visible all over the sky, not just in the direction of the radiant, so to maximise your chance of spotting meteors, try to find a safe place that has an unobstructed view of the whole sky.”

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 takes its name from the constellation of Lyra the Harp, where the shooting stars appear to originate from.

These meteors are pieces of debris falling from the Thatcher Comet, which is expected to return to the inner solar system in 2276, after an orbital period of 415 years.

According to astronomers, the best way to see meteor showers is to be as far away from artificial lights as possible.

With that in mind, here are 10 sites in Herefordshire which are ideal for stargazing.

  1. Berrington Hall: Just outside Leominster. The hall is one of Herefordshire Astronomical Society’s observation sites.
  2. Fownhope: The Recreation Field in Fownhope is one of the three observation sites used by Herefordshire Astronomical Society
  3. Bartstree: Just outside of Hereford. The village hall in Bartstree is the third observation site used by Herefordshire Astronomical Society for stargazing.
  4. Malvern Hills: The Malvern Hills has two Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the area and enjoys clear night skies.
  5. Blakemere: This Herefordshire village was listed by the Guardian as one of the 10 best sites for stargazers in the country.
  6. Kingstone: The village enjoys low light pollution and has one of the county’s highest star counts according to countryside charity CPRE.
  7. Hay Bluff: Right on the English/Welsh Border, Hay Bluff is listed by the Brecon Beacons National Park as on of the best 10 places to go stargazing.
  8. St Margarets: According to CPRE, St Margarets village in the south of the county enjoys one of Herefordshire’s highest star counts.
  9. King’s Caple: Between Hereford and Ledbury, the village of King’s Caple is said by CPRE to have some of the county’s truly darkest night skies.
  10. Brilley Mountain: Located on the border with Wales. Brilley Mountain is another place with dark skies perfect for stargazing.

The Lyrids occur between 16-25 April every year.