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Last Updated: Monday August 13 2007 12:37 GMT

Meteor display thrills stargazers

A Perseid meteor flashes across the constellation Andromeda on 12 August 1997

Thousands of people managed to catch a massive light show of shooting stars zooming across the sky on Sunday night.

It's known as a meteor shower and it happens when tiny bits of dust burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere.

It happens every year but it was a really good display this time because there was a new moon, making the sky darker and the meteors easy to see.

The shower, called the Perseid meteor shower, carries on for two weeks but was at its best on Sunday night.

Experts reckoned that as many as 100 meteors an hour would have been visible when the sky was clearest and darkest.


Perseid meteor trail (2006)
The tiny dust particles can travel at 32 miles per second and the air around them gets really hot, causing the big streaks of light.

As well as meteors, really keen stargazers should have been able to see the planet Mars, which was a red dot in the eastern sky just after midnight.

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