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Spectacular pictures capture hundreds of shooting stars in annual Perseid meteor shower

Hundreds of shooting stars lit up the night sky as the annual Perseid meteor shower reached its peak.

Tom Nokes took this image of a meteor over Oldham Credit: Tom Nokes

In the UK, star-gazers in the Midlands and the north had the best view of the shower, with little cloud cover and a new moon joining forces to create the ideal dark sky conditions to spot the meteors as they blazed a trail across the heavens.

Spectacular pictures show the shower in action.

A meteor shoots over Bradgate Park in Newtown Linford, Leicestershire Credit: Reuters
A shooting star spotted near Wendover, southern England Credit: Reuters

Meteors consist of particles which can be as small as a grain of sand entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up.

The Perseids meteor shower occurs ever year between July 17 and August 24 - and this year more than 100 meteors an hour were recorded as it reached its height overnight.

The Perseids could also be spotted around the world.

Meteors streak across the sky over a Roman theatre in the ruins of Acinipio, near Ronda, southern Spain Credit: Reuters
A meteor seen over Leeberg hill near Grossmug, Austria Credit: Reuters
The Perseids could be seen near Kraljevine, Zenica, Bosnia Credit: Reuters
A meteor over the village of Malashki, north of Minsk, Belarus Credit: Reuters
The view from near Kraljevine on mountain Smetovi, Bosnia Credit: Reuters

While heavy cloud meant those in the south and in Scotland had a restricted view, many people in central and northern England stayed up late to watch the spectacle, taking to Twitter to share their experiences.

The Perseids are known as one of the mos reliable regular meteor showers visible to the naked eye.

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.

– Robin Scagell, Society for Popular Astronomy