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Leonid Meteor Shower on Monday

admin November 16th, 2007

There will be a meteor shower in the early morning hours of November 19. The Leonid meteor shower named after the constellation Leo will be seen as bright shooting stars in maximum number in the north-east sky.

Experts have predicted that as many as 15 to 20 meteors could be seen per hour. “But meteor showers are notorious for defying predictions,” said Suresh Bhattarai of the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASo).

“It could either be 30 to 40 or less than ten in number,” he said. Leonids are annual and they are seen in mid-November, but the number of meteors vary every year.

A meteor shower is the result of an interaction between earth and Comets that are like ‘dirty snowballs’ made up of ice and rock, orbiting the sun. Each time a comet swings by sun in its orbit, some of its ice melts and it sheds a large amount of debris. As the debris streams from the comet, it forms the comet’s visible tail. Meteor shower is seen if the earth travels parallel to this stream.

“The best time to watch the shower will be between midnight and dawn,” said Jayanta Acharya, astronomer at the Balmiki Campus. He said that three to five in the morning is the best time to view the shower, as it is true of most meteor showers. The Leo rises in the wee hours after midnight in November, which explains why the Leonids are typically best between the hours of midnight and dawn.

The entire meteors shoot outward from one point in the sky, which is called the “radiant”. Each shower has its own radiant and the radiant of this shower is in the constellation Leo that is why this shower is called the “Leonid”.

According to Bhattarai the speed of the shower will be approximately 71 km per hour. He added that there will be no detectable colour of the meteors, but they will be seen very bright and speedy and will be visible from Nepal.

Via - The Himalayan Times

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