Perseid meteor shower photographed in Nevada, 12 August 2013
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Meteors: 'Natural celestial fireworks'

12 August 2013 Last updated at 20:08 BST

Sky-gazers are preparing for the high point of the annual Perseid meteor shower.

The display, which reaches its peak on Monday, occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from comet Swift-Tuttle.

As this comet "grit" strikes the atmosphere, it burns up, creating spectacular streaks of light across the night sky.

Dr Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, explains what meteors are and what they can tell us about the solar system.

Images from Science Photo Library and Ethan Miller / Getty Images.