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Perseid meteor shower puts on a spectacular show

This year's Perseid meteor shower lived up to its promise, putting on an impressive show for those under clear and dark skies.

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A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky in Tecate in Baja California Thursday, in this long-exposure photo. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

Jorge Duenes/Reuters

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The 2010 Perseid meteor shower lived up to its promise of a meteor per minute just before dawn today, providing an excellent celestial spectacle for people around the globe who had dark and clear skies.

"In Iran, the Perseid meteor shower was great," Mohammad Reza Zaman Sani told Spaceweather.com.

Another observer, Anthony in Florida, was one of several who noticed that the meteors sometimes came in bursts. "There would be a few minutes of nothing, then 1, 2, 3 in a row," he said, writing (without his last name) on Meteorobs, a website that tracks meteor observations.

IN PICTURES: Meteor showers

"We had a nice show in Norway even though the sky was still not completely dark," said Runar Sandnes on Spaceweather.com. "Meteors came sometimes in showers of 2 or 3."

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by ancient debris left by multiple orbits around the sun of the comet Swift-Tuttle. They name comes from the fact that the meteors appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, which was high overhead just before dawn. The meteors all streaked away from that point of origin, called the radiant. A few non-Perseids, called sporadic meteors, were also observed on totally different trajectories.

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