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Saturday night is Leonid night

Hitting the dusty comet trail

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Put a note in your diaries: this weekend the Leonids are coming to town. Although the meteor shower won't be as spectacular as it was in 1998, or in 2002, it should still be worth watching.

The only down side is that the most intense part of the show will only last for a few hours, reaching its peak at the utterly horrible time of 4:45 (GMT) on Sunday morning. By then, the meteors should be visible at a rate of around 150-200 per hour, so all you have to do is hope for clear skies.

The Leonids, so called because they seem to come from the constellation of Leo, are actually the debris left behind by the once-every-33-yearly passing of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

This year, we'll be passing through a trail that was left behind by a visit in 1932, according to New Scientist. The trail is much dustier than the very rocky section we got in 1998, so we'll see fewer, and fainter shooting stars.

The shower should be visible in Europe, Africa, parts of the North America (north-eastern parts), and Brazil. ®

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