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Shooting stars show lights up Britain's skies

Published 13/08/2015

Stunning image of Perseid Meteor Shower taken at Tullagh Bay in Donegal from Ronan McMonagle
Stunning image of Perseid Meteor Shower taken at Tullagh Bay in Donegal from Ronan McMonagle
The Perseids Meteor shower took place last night, regarded as one of the best displays of the year. Photographed around 2am with the Milk-Way over Spelga Dam, located in the Mourne Mountains, County Down. Pic By Paul Moane
TOPSHOTS A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A meteor streaks across the sky early Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015, in Springville, Ala. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight. (Mark Almond/AL.com via AP) MAGS OUT
A meteor streaks across the sky near an American flag early Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015, in Springville, Ala. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight. (Mark Almond/AL.com via AP) MAGS OUT;
In this photo taken with long exposure, a wind turbine is set against a starry sky Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, near Marshalltown, Iowa. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday and Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
In this photo taken with long exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky behind a grain elevator during the annual Perseid meteor shower Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Baxter, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A shooting star seen through thin cloud in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. PA Wire
A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. PA Wire
A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: PA Wire
A meteor seen during a Perseids meteor shower over St Mary's Lighthouse near Whitley Bay, as hundreds of shooting stars will be visible from across the UK this evening as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaks. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED ADDING BYLINE. A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
A shooting star in the skies over Kielder Water, Northumberland, as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Tom White/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED ADDING BYLINE. A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED ADDING BYLINE. A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED ADDING BYLINE. A shooting star seen through thin cloud in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
RETRANSMITTED ADDING BYLINE. A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: PA Wire
A shooting star in the skies over the Bathing House at Howick in Northumberland as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked, delighting viewers in the Midlands and the North. Photo: PA Wire
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
Cows stand in a field during the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A picture shows the Milky Way during the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy, on August 13, 2015. The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the cloud of debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLOMARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
Clouds partly cover the star speckled night sky over Sieversdorf, eastern Germany, on August 11, 2015. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower is expected for the night to Thursday, August 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / PATRICK PLEUL +++ GERMANY OUTPATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images
A falling star crosses the night sky over Sieversdorf, eastern Germany, on August 11, 2015. The peak of the Perseid meteor shower is expected for the night to Thursday, August 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / PATRICK PLEUL +++ GERMANY OUTPATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images
A general view of the stars above Sycamore Gap, prior to the Perseid Meteor Shower above Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday night, but much of the UK is facing cloudy conditions. The best places to view the event is in northern England and Scotland. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Members of the public watch the Perseid meteor shower above Sycamore Gap which is along Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday night, but much of the United Kingdom is facing cloudy conditions. The best places to view the event is in northern England and Scotland. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
A general view of the stars above Sycamore Gap prior to the Perseid Meteor Shower above Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday night, but much of the UK is facing cloudy conditions. The best places to view the event is in northern England and Scotland. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Stars and meteor streaks are seen behind a destroyed house, near Tuzla, Bosnia, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Villadiego in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, during the "Perseids" meteor shower on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSOCESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images
A long exposure image showing an aeroplane passing in the sky during the Perseids meteor shower over the remains of St. Ilia Roman early Christian basilica dated back to the 5th6th century AD near the town of Pirdop, early on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
Stars seen as streaks from a long camera exposure are seen behind Arnotegui Hermitage, in Obanos, northern Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the "tears of Saint Lawrence", since 10 August is the date of that saint's martyrdom. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Stars and storm seen as streaks from a long camera exposure are seen behind an ancient Hermitage, in Murillo del Fruto, northern Spain, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The meteor shower is expected to peak Wednesday night into Thursday morning.(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Stars seen as streaks from a long camera exposure are seen behind a silhouette of a Spanish fighting bull, conceived decades ago as highway billboards in Cordoba, Spain, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the "tears of Saint Lawrence", since 10 August is the date of that saint's martyrdom. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Stars seen as streaks from a long camera exposure are seen behind an ancient Hermitage, in Murillo del Fruto, northern Spain, Wednesday Aug. 12, 2015. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the "tears of Saint Lawrence", since 10 August is the date of that saint's martyrdom. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Handout photo issued by the European Space Agency of a Perseid seen in August 2010 above the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile, as a man-made shooting star will add extra sparkle to a spectacular display of Perseid meteors this week. Photo: S. Guisard/ESO/PA Wire
A long exposure image showing an aeroplane passing in the sky during the Perseids meteor shower over the remains of St. Ilia Roman early Christian basilica dated back to the 5th6th century AD near the town of Pirdop, early on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
A long exposure image showing a Perseids meteor (R) streaking across the night sky over the remains of St. Ilia Roman early Christian basilica dated back to the 5th6th century AD near the town of Pirdop, early on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
A long exposure image showing a Perseids meteor (L) streaking across the night sky over the remains of St. Ilia Roman early Christian basilica dated back to the 5th6th century AD near the town of Pirdop, early on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Villadiego in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, during the "Perseids" meteor shower on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSOCESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Villadiego in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, during the "Perseids" meteor shower on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSOCESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Villadiego in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, during the "Perseids" meteor shower on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSOCESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Villadiego in the province of Burgos, northern Spain, during the "Perseids" meteor shower on August 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ CESAR MANSOCESAR MANSO/AFP/Getty Images
A file picture taken in the northeastern village of Rotbuehl, Switzerland, on August 13, 2009, shows a meteor entering the earth's atmosphere during the Perseid meteor shower, as the earth passed through the densest part of the dusty debris stream from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Close to 100 shooting stars per hour will be visible from around the globe on a night sky, between August 12 and 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIAN DERUNGSSEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images
This file photo taken early on August 13, 2009 shows a meteor entering the earth's atmosphere during the Perseid meteor shower over the northeastern village of Rotbuehl in Switzerland. AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIAN DERUNGSSEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images
This file photo taken late on August 12, 2013 shows a long exposure picture showing the sky at night during a Perseid meteor (L) shower, with a meteor streaking across the sky (L) over St Ioan medieval church near the village of Potsurnentsi. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFFDIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images
Handout photo issued by the Royal Astronomical Society of a Perseid shooting star over Woodingdean, Sussex, on the early morning of August 13, 2013, as a man-made shooting star will add extra sparkle to a spectacular display of Perseid meteors this week. Photo: Darren Baskill/Royal Astronomical Society/PA Wire
File photo dated 13/08/13 of a meteor seen during a Perseids meteor shower over Gloucestershire, as hundreds of shooting stars will be visible from across the UK this evening as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaks. Photo Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Star-gazers have caught sight of hundreds of shooting stars in the night skies above the UK as the annual Perseids meteor shower peaked.

Onlookers in the Midlands and the North had the best view of the meteors as cloud cover meant visibility was limited across southern England and Scotland.

The Perseids were keenly anticipated this year as they coincided with a new moon, creating the ideal dark sky conditions, and were also briefly joined overhead by a bright man-made star, the International Space Station (ISS).

Occurring yearly between July 17 and August 24, the meteors reached their peak on Wednesday and Thursday night when over 100 meteors an hour were produced.

Those who stayed up to watch the shower turned to Twitter to share their delight.

Alex Haynes, of Wolverhampton, tweeted: "Truly spectacular view directly up tonight. Clear sky, absolutely amazing. Perseid."

Linda Scannell, of Warwick, said: "Just saw the biggest shooting star I've ever seen."

James Thompson, of Chesterfield, posted: "Best viewing of a meteor shower I think I've seen so far. Wonderful show from the Perseids."

And Courtney Green, who was watching from the West Midlands, tweeted: "Meteor shower was quite cool tonight, saw so many shooting stars! So pretty."

Professor Mark Bailey, director of Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, called the Perseids the "best and most reliable meteor showers of the year".

Prof Bailey predicted the Perseids would this year produce an outburst of activity around 7.40pm BST on August 12, while it was still light, but the stars could be seen long after dark.

Members of Birmingham Astronomical Society were among those who had readied themselves to take advantage of the region's clear skies.

The ISS, which orbits earth every 90 minutes, was expected to be visible for four minutes from 10.28pm on Wednesday.

Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "The thing about shooting stars is they're a wonderful free spectacle we can all enjoy, assuming clear skies.

"The Perseids are usually fairly bright. Also, they tend to leave a trail, or train, behind them. You can see the train hanging there glowing in the sky for a few seconds - sometimes for several minutes - after the meteor has gone."

Meteors are the result of particles as small as a grain of sand entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed and burning up.

They can appear anywhere but seem to emerge from a single point, or "radiant". The Perseid's radiant is in the north-east constellation of Perseus.

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