JAMES: HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA.

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1 STAR GAZERS SG MINUTE "THE LEONID METEOR SHOWER" HEY THERE STAR GAZERS. I'M JAMES ALBURY, DIRECTOR OF THE KIKA SILVA PLA PLANETARIUM IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA. AND I'M DEAN REGAS, ASTRONOMER FOR THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY. WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOU FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SKY. ON THE MORNINGS OF NOVEMBER 17TH AND 18TH, FROM MIDNIGHT TO DAWN, WE MAY GET TO SEE THE ANNUAL LEONID METEOR SHOWER. AND THIS YEAR THE MOON IS GOING TO HELP BY STAYING OUT OF THE WAY. LET'S SHOW YOU. ---(STOP & DROP) IF YOU'RE FAR FROM CITY LIGHTS ON ANY CLEAR MOONLESS NIGHT YOU'RE LIKELY TO SEE A FEW METEORS, IF YOU STAY OUT LONG ENOUGH AND... BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT... THERE'S MORE.

2 METEORS HAVE LONG BEEN CALLED "SHOOTING STARS" BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE. BUT THEYRE NOT REALLY STARS SHOOTING ACROSS THE SKY. IN FACT WHEN YOU SEE A METEOR-- YOU ARE SEEING A TINY SPECK OF SPACE DEBRIS, ANYWHERE FROM THE SIZE OF A GRAIN OF SAND-TO PEBBLE SIZED. THEY SLAM INTO OUR EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE AT SUCH HIGH SPEEDS THAT FRICTION WITH THE GASSES IN OUR EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE CAUSES THE AIR TO GLOW. SO WHEN YOU SEE A "SHOOTING STAR" YOU ARE ACTUALLY SEEING THE GAS ATOMS IN OUR EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE GLOW ALL ALONG THE PATH THAT THE METEOR HAS TRAVELED. SO ON ANY CLEAR, DARK, MOONLESS NIGHT YOU CAN SEE A HANDFUL OF METEORS IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF PATIENCE. BUT ABOUT 12 TIMES A YEAR, WE EXPERIENCE WHAT WE CALL A METEOR SHOWER. AND EVERY NOVEMBER WE HAVE THE LEONID METEOR SHOWER, SO NAMED BECAUSE ITS METEORS APPEAR TO RADIATE FROM THE CONSTELLATION LEO THE LION. (STOP)

3 METEOR SHOWERS ARE A BIT DIFFERENT FROM THE METEORS YOU SEE EVERY NIGHT BECAUSE THE METEORS IN A METEOR SHOWER ARE PREDICTABLE AND ARE MADE UP OF COMET DEBRIS. YOU SEE, EVERY TIME A COMET PASSES THROUGH OUR SOLAR SYSTEM IT SHEDS SOME OF ITS DEBRIS ALONG ITS ORBIT, AND IF THE EARTH INTERSECTS WITH THE COMETS PATH-- WE'LL GET A METEOR SHOWER. METEOR SHOWERS ARE SOMEWHAT PREDICTABLE BECAUSE THE EARTH RETURNS TO ABOUT THE SAME SPOT IN SPACE AT THE SAME TIME EACH YEAR. AND EVERY NOVEMBER WE PLOW INTO SOME OF THE DEBRIS TRAILS OF COMET TEMPEL- TUTTLE, A COMET WHICH VISITS THE SUN EVERY 33 YEARS. AND IN THE YEARS JUST PRECEDING OR FOLLOWING TEMPEL-TUTTLE'S PASSAGE WE PASS THROUGH DENSER DEBRIS TRAILS, AND WE MAY EXPERIENCE METEOR SHOWERS WITH GREATER THAN USUAL INTENSITY WHICH WE CALL METEOR STORMS. THE LAST STORM FROM THE LEONIDS WAS IN HORIZON YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN ONE OF THESE STORMS MAY HAPPEN, BUT THE BEST PREDICTION TO SEE SOME METEORS THIS YEAR

4 FOR NORTH AMERICA IS TO GO OUT FROM 1 A.M. THROUGH DAWN ON THE 17TH OR 18TH. I KNOW THATS REALLY LATE AT NIGHT, AND IT MIGHT BE COLD OUTSIDE, BUT THAT'S THE BEST TIME TO LOOK. FACE EAST WHERE OU'LL FIND LEO RISING. HE HAS A BACKWARD QUESTION MARK FOR HEAD, AND A TRIANGLE FOR A TAIL. THE METEORS WILL SEEM TO RADIATE FROM AROUND THERE. AS THE NIGHT GOES ON, LEO WILL GET HIGHER IN THE SKY AND YOU'LL HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF SEEING MORE METEORS. MAYBE YOU'LL SEE A FEW REALLY BRIGHT METEORS WITH LONG TRAILS! OR MAYBE NOT. JAMES IN SPACE AND ONE MORE THING, THE LEONIDS ARE THE FASTEST OF ALL METEORS BECAUSE WE ARE HITTING THEM NEARLY HEAD ON. THEY SLAM INTO OUR EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE TRAVELING AT SPEEDS OVER 158,000 MILES PER HOUR! WATCH OUT! - HORIZON (NEW PART)

5 AND FOR THOSE OF YOU CAN ONLY STAY UP UNTIL 10PM, YOU CAN GET A PREVIEW OF THE WINTER SKY. LOOK SOUTHEAST FOR ORION AND HIS SNAZZY BELT OF THREE STARS RISING UP. THE BELT STARS CAN POINT YOU TO OTHER STAR PATTERNS. CONNECT THE DOTS AND KEEP GOING UP. YOU'LL RUN INTO TAURUS THE BULL - THAT LOOKS LIKE A V-SHAPE OF STARS. AND IF YOU KEEP GOING A LITTLE FURTHER YOU'LL COME TO THE BEST STAR CLUSTER IN THE SKY, THE SEVEN SISTERS. BACK TO THE EARLY MORNING SKY ON THE 17TH OR 18TH BE SURE TO GET OUT AND WATCH THE LEONID METEOR SHOWER RADIATING FROM LEO THE LION. AND JUST AS DAWN BREAKS THE GIANT PLANET JUPITER WILL RISE AND JOIN THE SHOW. SO HAPPY METEOR SHOWER AND... BOTH: KEEP LOOKING UP! ***************

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