Friday, November 7, 2008

Shooting Stars - Meteors in Leonid Showers!

In our younger years of age, we used to gaze at the night sky and count the stars that appear, move and disappear – ‘
Shooting Stars.’ While doing so, friends advised that one should immediately look at a green tree if he sees a shooting star; otherwise it might cause his death!

In 1998 November, there was news in dailies about ‘Leonid Showers.’ So, we all went to look upon the skies after midnight at about 01.30 am. The date was 18th. You can read my jotting on my diary on that date:

“At night (1.30 am to 3.30 am) we all saw the meteors on the clear sky about one or two at a time in a gap of about 10 minutes from 2.15 am to 3.30 am”

As we waited with patience, there were these continued appearances of these shooting stars (or the Meteors) in showers. It appeared as if fireworks were lit and displayed in the sky at the Deepavali
Day, here in India! An amazingly spectacular heavenly sight!

Meteoroids’ are the smaller separated parts from the Asteroids belt of stones that revolve around the Sun. When they come near our Earth, they are attracted and sucked into its atmosphere; but they catch fire and become visible as ‘Meteors.’ As they do so they get vaporized or fall down to the ground as ‘Meteorites.’ (It is believed that one large such of meteorites hit the Earth in Mexico and caused the extinction of Dinosaurs). But the Meteor showers of Leonid occur when our Earth passes through the dust particles left out by the comet Tempel-Tuttle.
Did these meteor showers come only in 1998? No, no! They appear each and every year around mid- November! So, you can witness this celestial event this year also in the
Constellation of Leo. I wish you all have this wonderful experience! You can contact me for sharing your own rendezvous with these meteors or meteorites.

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