Meteor shower to light up skies for two days

Friday, November 20 2009 @ 11:48 am EST

Contributed by: SoniaMendez

MANILA, Philippines - A “prolific” meteor shower is expected to light up the skies of Asia and Europe for two days – tonight (Nov. 17) and Wednesday (Nov. 18), the government-run weather bureau Pagasa said yesterday.

Here in the Philippines, Pagasa administrator Prisco Nilo said Filipinos will get a glimpse of the meteorological phenomenon known as the “Leonids” meteor shower between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. of the following day.

“We have a very good chance to see the meteor showers,” Nilo said.

He, however, stressed that people in the Visayas and Mindanao will have a difficult time seeing the meteor showers because of the intertropical convergence zone which is expected to bring scattered rainshowers this week.

According to a NASA statement, “The Leonids meteor shower is created by bits of debris left behind by the repeat passages through the inner solar system of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This year, it may produce another enhanced return, with Zenithal Hourly Rates (ZHRs) predicted to peak at more than 40 meteors per hour according to independent theoretical work by Astronomers David Asher, Esko Lyytinen and Marku Nissinen, Mikhail Maslov, and Jérémie Vaubaillon.”“There are several streams and this year, the Earth will pass through one of the streams laid down in the year 1466. Most astronomers did not expect it to produce much, but observers in Asia and Europe may see as many as 100 meteors per hour, which shows the 1466 stream is rich in meteor-producing debris. This year our planet will pass through this stream again, but this time closer to its center where more material will slam into our atmosphere. The meteoroids, typically the size of a sand grain, vaporizes as it travels downward in the atmosphere. Some pea-sized objects create dramatic fireballs,” the statement added. - By Dennis Carcamo (Philstar News Service,

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