The world watches in awe as the Perseid meteor shower illuminates the night sky with spectacular falling stars around the globe.

The United States, Europe and Canada will be able to see the Perseids at their best, with similarly stellar views in Mexico and Central America, Asia, much of Africa and parts of South America.

Known as the "fiery tears of St. Lawrence," the heavenly showcase takes place as the earth plows through the galactic debris left behind by the passage of the Swift-Tuttle comet.

According to NASA, the meteor shower will be on Monday, May 12 at 4:00 pm ET (9:00 am) to enjoy its greatest activity.

With a new moon giving the spectacle an extra dark background, the shooting stars will be brighter than ever. The maximum temperatures can reach up to 10,000F (5,537F) when flying over the sky.

The meteors, which are usually no larger than a grain of sand, burn when they strike at 58 kilometers per second into the atmosphere to produce a shooting lumen in the sky.

The meteors are called Perseids because they seem to fly out of the constellation Perseus.

Dr. Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society said: "Unlike many celestial events, meteor showers are easy to observe and no special equipment is required, though a recliner and blanket make observation much more enjoyable."



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