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Perseid meteor shower of 2021 thrills skywatchers

The expected peak of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower overnight on Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 11-12) thrilled amateur astronomers as Earth passed through the debris tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

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In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia.

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

If you take a cool photo of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower let us know! You can send images and comments to spacephotos@space.com.

Images, videos and excited comments populated social media platforms as people watched the "shooting star" show, underneath a small crescent moon. You can still catch a good show late Thursday night (Aug. 12) and before dawn on Friday (Aug. 13) — but act quickly!

NASA warns that the next great Perseid meteor shower may not happen until 2024 because sky conditions will not be ideal for the expected 2022 and 2023 peaks. "With a full moon and lower meteor activity during the Perseids' peak in 2022, and a waning crescent high in the sky for 2023, this might be your best chance to do some summer skywatching for a few years," the agency said in a blog post.

Related: Amazing photos of the 2021 Perseid meteor shower

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The 2021 Perseids viewed from roughly 30 miles (50 km) outside of Las Vegas. (Image credit: Tyler Leavitt)
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The 2021 Perseids viewed from roughly 30 miles (50 km) outside of Las Vegas. (Image credit: Tyler Leavitt)
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The 2021 Perseids viewed from roughly 30 miles (50 km) outside of Las Vegas. (Image credit: Tyler Leavitt)
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The 2021 Perseids viewed from roughly 30 miles (50 km) outside of Las Vegas. (Image credit: Tyler Leavitt)

Tyler Leavitt, an amateur astronomer in Las Vegas, sent some pictures to Space.com from about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away, where he drove to "get away from the lights," he told Space.com in an e-mail. The spectacular result showed Perseid meteors lit up high in the atmosphere, framed by cactuses and a windmill.

"The air near Vegas was actually a bit hazy from the California wildfires," Leavitt said. "As the night went along, I was able to see and capture more meteors. Counted 23 between 2 and 3 am. That seemed to be the maximum I saw in an hour, which was slower (fewer) than other years I've been to the same spot."

Below are some social media shares and comments about the 2021 Perseids.

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A meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 10, 2021 in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
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A NASA photographer's view of the annual Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 10, 2021, from Spruce Knob, West Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
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The next major meteor shower of 2021 will come in October, when the annual Orionid meteor shower lights up the night sky. The Orionids are made up of pieces of Halley's Comet and will peak in 2021 overnight on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, but the full moon on Oct. 20 will likely wash them out. 

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.