Leonid meteor shower to brighten November sky next week

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Washington, Nov 13 (ANI): Astronomy enthusiasts will be treated with best viewing of the Leonid meteor shower in the two to three hours before dawn on November 17 and 18, says the StarDate magazine.

There is always some uncertainty in the number of meteors the Leonid shower will produce, but viewers could expect to see at least 20 meteors per hour if they have clear skies.

The nearly full Moon will set several hours before dawn, and therefore not wash out any meteors in the hours immediately before dawn.

Leonid meteors appear to fall from the constellation Leo, the lion, but they are not associated with it. They are leftover debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle. As the comet orbits the Sun, it leaves a trail of debris. The Leonid meteors recur each year when Earth passes through the comet¹s debris trail.

Each time comet Tempel-Tuttle gets closest to the Sun in its orbit, called "perihelion," it sheds a significant amount of material. This creates clumps along its orbit.

If Earth passes through one of these clumps this year, viewers could see hundreds of meteors per hour at the shower's peak. If Earth simply passes through the "normal" part of the comet's debris trail, the number of meteors visible will be much lower.

For best view, it is advisable to get away from city lights. (ANI)

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