Perseid Meteor Shower in Photos

The annual Perseid meteor shower, photographed here above Stonehenge in 2013, takes place every August. Kieran Doherty/REUTERS

Every summer, the Perseid meteor shower occurs in mid-August. As Earth passes through debris from the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle, rubble from the comet enters the atmosphere, producing the bright "shooting stars" that astronomers observe from the ground.

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the best known and most consistent astronomical events; this year it is occurring over several days from August 11-14. According to the astronomy afficianados at EarthSky, an amateur astronomy reference, the best time to catch the showers is the early morning. During peak times, when the sky is darkest, viewers can see about 50 meteors per hour. This year's shower coincides with a waning crescent moon, and without glare from the moon streaks can be observed starting in the early evening, just after sunset.

The annual event, which is best observed from the Northern Hemisphere, can be seen from anywhere without significant light pollution. For New Yorkers eager to get a taste, here are some of the most stunning photographs of the shower from around the world.

A meteor streaks across the sky, photographed from near mount Smetovi in Bosnia and Herzogovina in the early morning of August 12. Dado Ruvic/REUTERS
Meteors appeared above this Balkan archaeological site. The annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak on August 12 and 13 in Europe, according to NASA. Dado Ruvic/REUTERS
Dark areas like the wilderness around this ancient Roman theatre in southern Spain are ideal for observing meteor showers. Jon Nazca/REUTERS
Photographers use long exposure cameras to capture "shooting stars," as in this picture from Newtown Linford, Britain. Darren Staples/REUTERS
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Meteors vary in brightness and size, and their visibility often depends on light conditions. Dado Ruvic/REUTERS