A Perseid meteor streak across the sky above desert pine trees in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, in Nevada.
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Northern Hemisphere sky-gazers are in for a special treat Thursday night with a rare shooting star "outburst," which astronomers hope will not be marred by clouds and a bright moon. For about an hour around 23:00 GMT, there will be more than double the usual fireball activity associated with the annual Perseid meteor shower. The event builds up over about two weeks, peaking in mid-August.Each meteor is a piece of broken-off comet, which explodes as it hits Earth's atmosphere.In fact, astronomers' main concern is the weather, with cloud cover predicted for parts of Europe.There is also the dimming impact of our own satellite – the Moon – which will be in a bright phase, making it harder to observe the sharp but short-lived bursts of meteors exploding.
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