A display of celestial fireworks is set to peak late tonight as the Earth flies through a cloud of cometary dust.

If skies are clear, the Perseid meteor shower should be visible from around midnight until 5.30am.

The event is one of the highpoints in the celestial calendar, occurring each year as the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

The meteors, mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, burn up as they hit the atmosphere at 58 kilometres per second to produce a shooting stream of light in the sky.

Peak temperatures can reach anywhere from 1,648 to 5,537 C as they speed across the sky.

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

According to Astronomy Ireland, the Perseids will reach peak activity with 20 times more shooting stars than a normal night.

It says that telescopes or binoculars are not needed for the event, and that the Perseids can be seen with normal human eyesight.