As Earth hurtles towards the Perseid meteor shower, stargazers have been able to observe heightened activity in the night sky with many more "shooting stars" visible.

A display of celestial fireworks is expected to peak before dawn on Thursday - producing up to 150 meteors every hour.

The astronomical event is associated with the dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

Each year Earth travels through the pieces left behind and can be seen as meteors shooting across the sky. Every year, the Perseids peak around 11 and 12 August.

Footage above shows the showers caught on film from Spain and Germany over the past two days.

If skies are clear, the Perseid meteor shower should be visible from about midnight until 5.30am GMT on Thursday.

The meteor shower began on July 17 and will continue to be visible until August 24.

The meteors from the comet - mostly no bigger than a grain of sand - burn up as they hit the Earth's atmosphere at 36 miles per second to produce a shooting stream of light in the sky.

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

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

The Perseids have been observed for around 2,000 years according to Astronomy Ireland, and no special equipment is needed to view them.

Astronomy Ireland is encouraging people to take part in counting the number of meteors each night.

It has said 10 times more meteors than normal could be seen across Monday, with twice that due tonight.