Spectacular Leonids show this year
PHUKET: This year’s annual Leonids meteorite shower will be particularly spectacular, because it will be augmented by a phenomenon that occurs just once every 33 years. Prof Sakchai Petchshuai, professor of meteorological studies at the Rajabhat Institute Phuket, told the Gazette that the Leonids, so named because they appear to radiate from the constellation Leo, are the result of the Earth passing through debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. As the debris hits the earth’s atmosphere, it burns up, creating a fireworks-like show in the sky. “This year’s meteor showers will be augmented by the Earth passing through more debris than normal,” Prof Sakchai said. This is because, once every 33 years, the comet passes particularly close to the sun, with the result that there is more debris. Prof Sakchai advised that the best time to view the shooting stars will be around 1:20 am on Monday. He added that, for optimum viewing, stargazers “should get enough sleep during the day and ensure they choose a viewpoint that is not near buildings, tall trees or bright lights”. For those wanting to share the experience, the Rajabhat Institute Phuket will give people the opportunity to see the shower through the university’s telescope, and will also supply mats for those who simply want to gaze at the spectacle from the campus soccer field. For more details call Prof Sakchat Petchshuai at 01-8947417 or 076-211959, ext. 410.
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