The best photos from 2016's spectacular Perseid meteor shower

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TIMELAPSE: Perseid meteor shower

The night sky was alive with shooting stars on Thursday as people around the globe experienced one of the most active Perseid meteor showers in a long time.

Every year, the Earth collides with the debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which stretches 16 miles across. (Don't worry, we're safe, at least for the foreseeable future.)

All that debris burns up in Earth's atmosphere, providing us with a nice little light show every summer.

This year, Jupiter was positioned in a way that sent a particularly dense cloud of debris our planet's way.

Don't worry if you were too busy watching the Summer Olympics to catch the show. We rounded up the most spectacular images from 2016's Perseid meteor shower.

In a composite image, satellites, planes and comets transit across the night sky under stars that appear to rotate above Corfe Castle in the UK.

In a composite image, satellites, planes and comets transit across the night sky under stars that appear to rotate above Corfe Castle in the UK.
Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The meteor shower streaks above a roadside silhouette of a fighting bull, in Reduena, Spain.

The meteor shower streaks above a roadside silhouette of a fighting bull, in Reduena, Spain.
Image: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP

Perseid meteors streak across the sky above Van Lake, in eastern Turkey, on Aug. 12, 2016.

Perseid meteors streak across the sky above Van Lake, in eastern Turkey, on Aug. 12, 2016.
Image: Sitki Yildiz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The central Israeli village of Luzit during the Perseids meteor shower.

The central Israeli village of Luzit during the Perseids meteor shower.
Image: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

A long exposure image shows stars trailings across the sky over a wind turbine at the 'Saint Nikola' wind park near Kavarna, some 500km from Sofia, Bulgaria.

A long exposure image shows stars trailings across the sky over a wind turbine at the 'Saint Nikola' wind park near Kavarna, some 500km from Sofia, Bulgaria.
Image: EPA/VASSIL DONEV

The night sky above Corfe Castle in the UK.

The night sky above Corfe Castle in the UK.
Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

And, of course there are some great shots from Instagram:

A photo posted by James Croak (@jamescroak) on

A photo posted by Valia Efstathiou (@valiae) on

A photo posted by ROVIN' (@rovin_90) on

Eyes to the skies, everyone!

Liza Hearon helped compile this story.

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