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Spectacular skies

A stargazer in Macedonia shines a beam of light into the dazzling night sky (Reuters)

A shooting star performance: Perseid meteor shower lights up the sky with spectacular displays

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

A dazzling display of shooting stars lit up the skies of the world last night, with stargazers getting the treat of a lifetime.

The Perseid meteor shower could be seen across the globe, including in Europe, the United States and Canada.

People looking up at the night sky in Central America, Asia, Africa and parts of South America were able to see the display, that is also known as the ‘fiery tears of Saint Lawrence’.

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The Perseid meteor shower, one of the highpoints in the celestial calendar, occurs each year as the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Temperatures can reach as high as 10,000F (5,537F) as meteors – most of which are no bigger than a grain of sand – travel across the sky at speeds of 36 miles a second.

Dr Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, said: ‘Unlike a lot of celestial events, meteor showers are easy to watch and no special equipment is needed, although a reclining chair and a blanket make viewing much more comfortable.’