Calcuttans may get to watch the Leonid meteor shower, an annual celestial event, on Thursday and Friday nights.
According to scientists, the shower will be at its peak around 5.30pm on Friday with a rate of 15 to 20 meteors per hour. The best time to view the shower is before moonrise at 10.29pm.
The shower takes its name from the constellation Leo, from which it will appear to originate. Leo will rise on the eastern horizon around 11.30pm. However, one has to look the opposite direction (westward) to avoid the glare of the moon.
The meteors will look brighter on the city outskirts because of less light pollution.
Meteors are bright streaks of light seen in the night sky and are often termed shooting stars. When a rocky object, which could be as small as a sand particle, enters Earth’s atmosphere, a streak of light is produced because of friction with air molecules.
“There is no danger in seeing the Leonid shower with the naked eye,” said Debiprosad Duari, director (research and academics), MP Birla Planetarium. Every year, Earth passes through the debris of P-55/Tempel Tuttle, a periodic comet, around November 17. This gives rise to the meteor shower.