Perseid Meteor Shower 2014: Incredible images as shooting stars make final appearance in the night sky

The annual spectacle has passed its peak and will come to an end in the next couple of days

The Perseid Meteor Shower will be visible for the last time to the naked eye tonight across Britain, Europe and North America.

The annual spectacle happens every August and is caused by debris from the massive Swift-Tuttle comet falling into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Sunday’s “supermoon” threatened to eclipse the shooting stars but the light show peaked in the early hours of Wednesday morning across the Northern Hemisphere.

Up to 100 meteors can streak across the sky every hour at its height and an average of 40 can be seen an hour in good visibility, according to Nasa.

The agency said: “These bits of ice and dust — most over 1,000 years old — burn up in the Earth's atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year.

“The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.

“Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.”

Anyone wanting to catch the last of the event is advised to find an area away from towns and light pollution and look away from the moon.

The best time for viewing is from 3am until dawn on Thursday in any time zone and stargazers hampered by bad weather can watch a live stream of the meteor shower on the Nasa website here.

Observation of the Perseids dates back 2,000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower found in Chinese annals in AD 36.

The meteor shower is often referred to, particularly by Catholics, as the “tears of Saint Lawrence”, as 10 August is the date of his martyrdom.

Every 133 years, comet Swift-Tuttle swings through the inner Solar System leaving behind a trail of dust.

When the Earth passes through, the dust cloud particles hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and burn up in streaking flashes of light, creating the spectacle known as the Perseids.

Read more: Perigee moon might make Perseid Meteor Shower harder to see
Google Doodle honours one of the great celestial light shows
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive / Marketing Research Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is the UK's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager / Section Manager - Airport Security

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a critical role within the secur...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45-55k

£20000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is an established, ...

Recruitment Genius: E-Commerce Manager - Fashion Accessories

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn