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Leonid meteor to light up sky on Tuesday

The display on Tuesday is expected to produce more than 500 meteors in an hour

New York, November 16 -- A dazzling show will be visible in the North American sky Tuesday morning, as the Leonid meteor is expected to appear.

The Leonid meteor get their name from the location of their constellation Leo, and are associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

They occur every year when the Earth passes through the comet. The comet creates a clump as it gets closer to the sun in its orbit. This results in a spectacular meteor sight on the Earth.

According to the officials at Fiske Planetarium on the University of Colorado's Boulder campus, sky watchers should expect a good show with 20 to 60 meteors per hour just before dawn.

Astounding showers expected between 3:30-5:30 a.m.
The showers will occur a day after the new moon and will be seen in the constellation Leo. Since Leo does not rise till about midnight, the most intense part of the meteor shower will be between 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

There will be fairly good viewing before and after these hours as well.

Scott Bulkley, an astronomy professor at Barstow Community College said, “The thing about the Leonids is that no other shower gives the opportunity for such a spectacular shower. They have been the most spectacular in history, that’s why this one is always a more glamorous shower. You never know quite what to expect with the Leonids.”

In the period 1999-2002, massive storms of Leonid meteors were seen producing more than 1,000 meteors per hour.

In 1833, the Leonids came on the North American sky at the rate of 200,000 meteors per hour after which scientists started believing that “falling stars” were an astronomical phenomenon.

The shower develops into storm after every 33 years.

Recommendations for best viewing
Anyone wanting to have the best view must head away from high illuminated areas. Ithaca and Cornell residents, in particular, should head into outlying areas, away from light pollution.

Once a dark location is found, it will create a clear horizon to view the constellation. Meteor showers will be safely viewed by the naked eye putting away the need for binoculars or telescopes.

One should take care of dressing up warm since night time temperatures in November are high.