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500-year-old meteor shower to pass over NZ

A 500-year-old meteor shower will pass over the country Wednesday morning.

The shower will be at its heaviest from 9.34am to 9.44am, but meteors will be visible from about 3am.

Astronomer at Auckland’s Stardome Grant Christie predicts it will be a strong shower and mostly visible low in the northeast.

He said the number of meteors will peak at about 500 per hour in the heaviest 10 minutes, but in the early morning will be more like 50 per hour.

“It’s still worth having a look,” Mr Christie said.

“Before the sun comes up there will be a good chance one will see some meteors.”

He said meteor showers are caused by materials shed by comets as they warm up.

These particular meteors are caused by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which shed this particular batch of meteors in 1466.

“We’re running into material shed by the comet some 500 years ago. It’s quite amazing,” he said.



Ben H on 17/11/2009 8:22pm

I read this story just before i went to bed last night and had to set my alarm for 4am in hope that the crappy auckland weather would hold out just enough to get a look but sadly not, so if there was any chance anyone got photos or video would love to see up on weather watch. keep up the good work guys!

Rob on 17/11/2009 8:00pm

Would have been nice to see something but all we could see here in Wellington were clouds and looks like we were not alone. We would also have been able to see the shuttle and space station early this morning but ditto re clouds. (An exciting announcement coming from me later on about these satellites!)

It would have been a good idea to mention that the meteors are called the Leonids and it is expected that Asia will get the best view. Hopefully we will get reports from there soon as they head towards dawn.

SW on 17/11/2009 10:09am

Its not a good showing here as the radiant is quite far north and due to the shallow angle between the radiant near Regulus in leo and with the sun almost in scorpius the angle is almost the same so thats why its only visible not long before dawn and its not high either.

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