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Last Updated: Wednesday August 12 2009 17:22 GMT

Bright meteor shower hits Earth

Night sky

Get ready for a space rock light show

A spectacular meteor shower is expected to light up the sky on Wednesday night.

Every year the Earth passes through a cloud of space rocks left behind by a comet, creating a meteor shower called the Perseid.

The rocks burn up as they enter our atmosphere, causing the air around them to heat up and create streaks of light across the sky - a shooting star.

Experts reckon one of your best chances of catching a glimpse of the light show is on Wednesday night.

You won't need any special equipment to see the shower.

Francesco Diego

Francesco Diego explains what a meteor is

In fact, using binoculars or a telescope could limit how much of the sky you can see making it less likely that you'll spot a meteor.

The meteors look like they're coming from the constellation of stars known as Perseus, which is where they get their name from.

The rocks and dust were part of a comet called Swift-Tuttle.

The meteors start being visible from mid-July, but the Earth passes through the thickest part of the shower around about 12 August each year.

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER
Infographic (BBC)
The tails of the Perseids point back to a "radiant" in the constellation Perseus
They can appear anywhere in the sky
Composed of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle