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Leonid meteor shower to peak Thursday
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS):
Published on 17 Nov. 2010 12:00 AM IST
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Leonid meteor shower will peak Thursday but there can be disappointment for sky gazers as the moon is expected to wash out the celestial fireworks of the night sky.
The leonid showers, known for their outbursts over the period 1998-2002, are the most famous meteors observable during the year.
“This year, the moon is quite full and moonset will only occur around 3:30 a.m. Nov 18. Therefore, the shower will be washed out and not offer a good view,” said C.B. Devgun, director of SPACE (Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators).
Devgun said sky gazers can go to a dark spot away from city lights and try looking towards the sky before the dawn of Thursday to spot some of the meteor showers.
A meteor is commonly called a shooting star. These shooting stars can be seen every night, but when the number of meteors is large, it is called a meteor shower.
Meteor showers occur when the earth crosses the cometary orbit. As comets move about their orbits, they leave a stream of debris because dust and rocky material is liberated from its head as the ice vaporises.
The leonids originate from a comet named Tempel-Tuttle, which makes a lasso around the sun every 33 years. They get their name from the location of their radiant, the apparent point of their origin, in the constellation Leo.

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