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Perseid meteor shower lights up weekend sky

This weekend, people around the globe had their necks craned, looking to the night sky in an effort to catch some "shooting stars" as the annual peak of the Perseid meteor shower took place.

Though the moon presented a challenge, many were able to spot some 'shooting stars'

A composite of the Perseid meteors over Dinosaur Provincial Park on the night of August 12-13, with faint aurora on the northern horizon at left. (Image © Alan Dyer/AmazingSky.co)

This weekend, people around the globe had their necks craned, looking to the night sky in an effort to catch some "shooting stars" as the annual peak of the Perseid meteor shower took place.

If they had clear skies, they weren't disappointed: "oohs" and "aahs" were heard from many backyards, parks and beaches as brief streaks of light crossed the sky. Many reported fireballs, bright meteors that can sometimes rival the brightness of the moon.

Laura Duchesne took this image of star trails and Perseids from Teviotdale, Ont. on the night of Aug. 13. (@LauraDuchesne)

While the Perseids are one of the year's best meteor showers, the moon was a bit of a problem this year: it was 70 per cent illuminated and, in Canada, rose around 11 p.m. making it difficult to see any faint meteors.

A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky above Leeberg hill during the Perseid meteor shower in Grossmugl, Austria, August 13, 2017. (Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)
A meteor streaks next to the Milky Way during the annual Perseid meteor shower above Berducedo, Spain, August 13, 2017. (Paul Hanna/Reuters)

The Perseids occur every year from mid-July to the end of August but typically peaks around August 12. Scientists at meteorshowers.org produced this interactive visualization on Earth travelling through Comet 109/P Swift-Tuttle's debris (you can click and rotate the view).

Anyone who has clear skies on the peak night can see upwards of around 100 meteors per hour in dark-sky locations. 

In 2016, there was an outburst, where the number of expected meteors per hour increased to about 200 meteors per hour. 

While the shower is still ongoing, it is now subsiding.

The next big meteor shower is the Geminids which occur in December which can produce up to 120 meteors an hour at its height.