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We call them shooting stars, but they are not stars at all. Those bright, brief streaks across the night sky are meteors. And meteors never miss to surprise its viewers by setting up breathtaking celestial shows. As per experts, over the next two months meteor showers are all set to light up the night skies.
Experts, while explaining the difference between the meteors and comets, said that meteors are debris left behind by comets, and comets are mostly made up of rock and ice. Once comets enter the inner solar system, their orbits may bring them close enough to the sun to heat up, causing the ice to melt and vaporize.
When the ice melts, particles of rock fall away from its nucleus, and when earth collides with the trail of this debris, the particles burn up in earth’s atmosphere.
According to the experts, the Orionid, Draconid, and Leonid meteor showers will be setting up stunning celestial shows over the period of next two months. The meteor showers are named for the constellations Orion, Draco, and Leo, respectively.
The Draconid shower peaked a few days ago, said the experts. The meteor shower could be best viewed between sunset and nightfall, which makes it notable. One can see 10-20 meteors per hour.
On the other hand, the Orionid shower, resulting from Halley’s Comet, is active since October 4 to November 14. The meteor shower will peak on October 21-22. The best viewing is from midnight to dawn, and one may see up to 20 flashes per hour. The Leonid shower peaks on November 17-18, and the best viewing will be pre-dawn.
“Folks of all ages and backgrounds can get involved, stoking the natural wonder that I think we all have about the nighttime sky,” explained observational astronomer Elizabeth McGrath, an assistant professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “Watching a meteor shower reminds us that we are part of something much larger than ourselves.”