Shooting star dazzles in natural light display
Stargazers across the Westcountry cast their eyes to the heavens as they kept watch for the "natural firework display" of the Perseids meteor shower.
People across the region turned into amateur astronomers as they looked out for the "shooting stars" a result of the material falling from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
The Perseids meteor shower is an annual event between mid-July and mid-August although the best views this year came on Monday night.
While cloud obscured the view of some, others enjoyed an uninterrupted view.
David Strange, chairman of the Norman Lockyer Observatory, at Sidmouth in East Devon, said: "120 visitors showed up for the occasion and were able to see Perseid meteors under clear skies and favourable conditions with the moon setting early in the evening.
"We were also able to show people a favourable pass of the International Space Station which was almost directly overhead at 11pm.
"A bright fireball was also caught just before 1am above the Connaught Dome of the observatory.
"Our radar meteor detectors were recording rates of 200 meteors/hour making this one of the most impressive displays for many years."
Meteors, commonly known as shooting stars, are the result of small particles entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed. They mostly appear as fleeting flashes lasting less than a second, but the brightest ones leave behind trails of vaporised gases and glowing air molecules that may take a few seconds to fade.
Astronomer and science writer Dr David Whitehouse said: "The light from a shooting star is like no other type of light in the sky.
"It's not starlight, it's not moonlight, it's not sunlight. It has a ghostly sliver and a sleeting brilliance all of its own."