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Best images from this year's Perseid meteor shower

16 August 2018

The next big meteor shower, the Geminids, will be visible in mid-December.

Meteor showers are nearly always linked to comets, which are giant balls of ice, rock, space dust, and gasses orbiting the sun.

The peak of the Perseid meteor show happens Sunday, Aug. 12, the U.S. National Weather Service said.

The Perseids is a prolific shower of fiery space particles that has streaked over our planet annually for generations as Earth encounters debris falling off the Swift-Tuttle comet, which was first discovered back in 1862. It takes 133 years to ellipse the Sun and this is the first year it has passed into the inner solar system since 1991.

Because the meteor shower's peak arrived just after the new moon on Saturday (Aug. 11), the dark "moonless" sky provided excellent conditions for spotting meteors in the night sky.

With a nucleus that is 26 km in diameter, Comet Swift-Tuttle contains almost 30 times the kinetic energy of the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.

You don't need any specialist equipment to view the shower as long as the night sky is clear.

Sometimes you get clouds, or too much light pollution, or you're an hour late to see the celestial event.

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Best images from this year's Perseid meteor shower