Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meteor shower in Malaysia

A video of the Perseid Meteors shower (time lapsed)

Source - The Star Online

Malaysians will be able to sight up to a total of 100 Perseid meteors per hour streaking across the northern sky in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Astronomy Atmospheric Science Unit lecturer Associate Professor Dr Chong Hon Yew said that according to the International Meteor Organisation (IMO, the meteor shower is expected to be best viewed from 1.30am to 4am on Thursday 13 August 2009.

“The shower could have started on July 24 and is expected to be observed until Aug 17, 2009.

“It is however predicted that during the peak viewing time (Thursday morning), the moon will be high in the sky, outshining the fainter meteors.

“There is a good chance for observers to spot the brighter meteors however,” he said on Wednesday.

Dr Chong also hoped the weather would be favourable for the Perseids to be seen.

Those who miss tomorrow’s meteor shower may still catch a “lesser version” after midnight Thursday, or early Friday morning.

Dr Chong said the Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle which are usually fast, bright and occasionally leave persistent trains.

“The point they come from lies in the constellation of Perseus,” he said.

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2,000 years, with the first known sighting coming from the Far East.

Every year in August, the Earth passes through rock and dust fragments left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As these small particles collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up, often creating a startling streak of light across the sky.

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the greatest activity between Aug 8 and Aug 14, peaking at about Aug 12.

Dr Chong said the meteor shower can be observed with the naked eye.

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