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Latest Meteor showers Stories

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2008-12-06 10:10:00

Astronomers from Caltech and NASA say a strong shower of Leonid meteors is coming in 2009. Their prediction follows an outburst on Nov. 17, 2008, that broke several years of "Leonid quiet" and heralds even more intense activity next November. "On Nov. 17, 2009, we expect the Leonids to produce upwards of 500 meteors per hour," says Bill Cooke of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "That's a very strong display." Forecasters define a meteor storm as 1000 or more meteors per hour. That would...

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2008-11-11 07:25:00

It started out as a normal day. NASA astronomer and meteor expert Bill Cooke woke up, dressed, and went to his office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Colleagues greeted him as usual, there was no hum of excitement. And then he checked his email. "That's how I found out"”I'd slept through a meteor outburst!" During the dark hours before dawn on Sept. 9, 2008, a surprising flurry of meteors had showered the skies above Huntsville, Alabama. More than two dozen of them were fireballs...

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2008-09-03 07:10:00

There's more than one way to watch a meteor shower. One, the old-fashioned way: Find a dark place with starry skies and count the meteors streaking overhead. Two, the new way: Find a dark place with starry skies and then completely ignore the meteors. Instead, watch the Moon. That's where the explosions are. On August 9th, a pair of amateur astronomers on opposite sides of the United States did it the new way. With the Perseid meteor shower just underway, they fixed their cameras on the Moon...

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2008-08-08 19:00:00

Mark your calendar: The 2008 Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 12th and it should be a good show. "The time to look is during the dark hours before dawn on Tuesday, August 12th," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "There should be plenty of meteors--perhaps one or two every minute." The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is far away, currently located beyond the orbit of Uranus, a trail of debris from the...

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2008-05-22 07:20:00

Not so long ago, anyone claiming to see flashes of light on the Moon would be viewed with deep suspicion by professional astronomers. Such reports were filed under "L" "¦ for lunatic. Not anymore. Over the past two and a half years, NASA astronomers have observed the Moon flashing at them not just once but one hundred times. "They're explosions caused by meteoroids hitting the Moon," explains Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center...

2008-01-03 09:21:53

The Quadrantid meteor shower is due to reach maximum in the predawn hours of Friday, Jan. 4. The Quadrantids are notoriously unpredictable, but if any year promises a fine display, this could be it. Indeed, this may end up being the best meteor shower of 2008. The Quadrantid (pronounced KWA-dran-tid) meteor shower provides one of the most intense annual meteor displays, with a brief, sharp maximum lasting but a few hours. The timing of peak activity favors Western Europe and eastern North...

2007-12-14 06:55:36

Many meteor showers tend to disappoint, but the annual Geminid shower is relatively reliable. And this year's version, which peaks tonight, is expected to be a great one. Meteors could start showing up anytime after dark this evening, Dec. 13, low on the eastern horizon. A better display should begin after 10 p.m. or so local time, when the constellation Gemini, from which the meteors emanate, rises higher into the Eastern sky. By 2 a.m. local time Friday, Dec. 14, Gemini is directly...

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2007-12-13 00:00:00

Mark your calendar: The best meteor shower of 2007 peaks on Friday, December 14th. "It's the Geminid meteor shower," says NASA astronomer Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center. "Start watching on Thursday evening, Dec. 13th, around 10 pm local time," he advises. "At first you might not see very many meteors"”but be patient. The show really heats up after midnight and by dawn on Friday, Dec. 14th, there could be dozens of bright meteors per hour streaking across the sky." The...

2007-12-09 14:34:22

What could be the best meteor display of the year will reach its peak on the night of Dec.13-14. Here is what astronomers David Levy and Stephen Edberg have written of the annual Geminid Meteor Shower: "If you have not seen a mighty Geminid fireball arcing gracefully across an expanse of sky, then you have not seen a meteor." The Geminids get their name from the constellation of Gemini, the Twins, because the meteors appear to emanate from a spot in the sky near the bright star...

2007-11-06 00:00:00

By Bill Kemp BLOOMINGTON - It was one of the greatest natural light shows in recorded human history. During the predawn hours of Nov. 13, 1833, the heavens lit up like a Fourth of July sparkler as tens of thousands of meteors streaked through the darkened sky. Early McLean County settler Robert Dickerson said it was like watching "showers of fiery rain falling to the ground." Reliable accounts of the event boggle the mind. A.C. Twyning of West Point, N.Y., for instance, estimated the rate...


Latest Meteor showers Reference Libraries

4_c4d3c824e14b01f0a42ed26fd3aa94142
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Perseids Meteor Shower -- Like most meteor showers, the Perseids are caused by comet debris. As comets enter the inner solar system, they are warmed by the sun and peppered by the solar wind, which produces the familar tails that stretch across the night sky when a bright comet is close to Earth. Comet tails are made of tiny pieces of ice, dust, and rock which are spewed into interplanetary space as they bubble off the comet's nucleus. When Earth encounters these particles on its...

4_e2e27d30e4681c0d7b628fb29a1685cd2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Leonids Meteor Shower -- The Leonids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The meteor stream is viewable every year around November 17 and is thought to be comprised of particles ejected by the comet as it passes by the Sun. When the Earth moves through the meteor stream, the meteor shower is visible. The Leonids get their name from usually making their appearance in or near the constellation Leo. The Leonids are famous because their meteor showers,...

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Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.