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Posted 18 November 2002 - 02:02 PM
SPECTACULAR METEOR SHOWER SET TO LIGHT UP NIGHT SKY
A SPECTACULAR display of shooting stars not likely to be repeated for 30 years takes place Tuesday night.
The Leonid meteors generate a shower of activity every November, but this year they are predicted to whip up a storm.
It will happen at around 4am.
Sky-watchers may see several brilliant shooting stars every minute on a clear night, despite a nearly full moon.
The Leonids are not expected to return in such numbers until at least 2034.
On the other hand, meteors, like the weather, are notoriously unpredictable, and there is no absolute guarantee that the storm will occur.
A spokesman for the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "If we do get a meteor storm, it should be worth setting the alarm for. But you will need to watch for some time to stand a good chance of seeing the meteors.
"If you just take a quick glance from the bedroom window you may not see anything. And there are no guarantees that the predictions will be correct."
The Leonids can be seen in any part of the sky. Among the best places to watch are the north-eastern to south-eastern skies around 3am to 5am, when the Moon is dipping lower in the west.
Anyone hoping to see the shooting stars should face away from the Moon, or hide it behind a roof top or wall. Street and house lights should be avoided too.
In previous years, the peak of Leonid activity has been very sharp. Predictions show a rapid rise in activity after about 3am, with more than 150 meteors showing themselves every 15 minutes under ideal conditions.