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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Life and Universe

Meteor shower from today
Saptarshi Banerjee , Hindustan Times
Kolkata, July 12, 2013
First Published: 00:29 IST(12/7/2013)
Last Updated: 03:31 IST(12/7/2013)

A celestial feast is coming up for stargazers this month — a meteor shower, which would begin on July 12 and peak around July 27 and 28 when one would see 20 or more meteors every hour.

The Delta Aquarid meteor shower would be seen from all parts of the country, if monsoon clouds don’t play spoilsport.

A meteoroid is a chunk that breaks away from a comet or an asteroid. It leaves a visible streak as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

The trail of glowing particles it sheds in its wake are called meteors – colloquially, a ‘shooting star’, explained Kaustuv Chaudhuri, secretary general of Kolkata Astronomy Centre.

A series of meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart from a fixed point in the sky are called a meteor shower.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/7/12_07_13-pg08b.jpg

“Meteoroids from the debris of comets Marsden and Kracht gives rise to the Delta Aquarid meteor shower every year. This is a fixed celestial event,” said Chaudhuri.

It would be a show worth watching, he assured.

Initially, there will be a few meteors every evening, but the frequency will soon increase. “On July 27, 28, you would be able to see up to 20 meteors every hour. And the number might even be more,” he said.

But there is a rider. “People would be able to witness the event only if the sky is clear. Monsoon clouds, smog and the moon can very well play spoilsport,” he added.

Perhaps a prayer to the rain gods is in order, this time to desist.


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