NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The extreme wasn’t enough to stop stargazers from glancing toward the heavens.

The Perseid meteor shower was expected to put on a show throughout the night.

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“The earth is on a collision course with the debris tail of a comet,” Hayden Planetarium Astrophysicist, Jackie Flaherty PhD, explained to CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

That may sound scary, dust from a cosmic comet slamming into the earth’s atmosphere, but Flaherty said there’s no need to worry.

“As we collide with this tale of debris from a comet it burns up in our atmosphere, and you get beautiful shooting stars in your night sky,” Flaherty said.

Comet Swift Tuttle circles the sun every 133 years, and its duty trail gives us the annual Perseid meteor shower named after the constellation Perseus.

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“It is just phenomenal when you actually do see a shooting star go across the sky you can read about it, you can talk about it until you really see it’s really breathtaking,” Deanna Consiglio said.

Stargazers gathered at Jones Beach away from the city’s bright lights for a free celestial sky show. Some even kept the little ones up late.

“It’s a great experience for the kids to see science related stuff in the middle of the summer. It’s a nice family night out,” Lauren O’Gurick said.

Weather permitting this year is supposed to be one of the best ever because gravity from the giant planet Jupiter is pulling twice as many meteors toward earth — up to 200 per hour — no binoculars or telescopes needed.

“Dark skies are really important, but more than anything you really need to have nothing in your view because you don’t know where that meteor is going to be coming from,” Flaherty said.

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