Clear skies forecast for meteor watchers

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The Independent Online

Stargazers can expect clear skies and excellent visibility as they watch the start of a spectacular meteor shower tonight, weather forecasters said today.

Stargazers can expect clear skies and excellent visibility as they watch the start of a spectacular meteor shower tonight, weather forecasters said today.

Millions of tiny dust particles will crash into the Earth's atmosphere at 158,000mph, creating bright streaks in the sky as they burn up.

Astronomers expect the Leonid meteor shower, an annual event, to be especially dramatic this year reaching its brightest shortly after 2am on Thursday with up to 20 meteors arriving every minute.

Clear skies are expected over most of Britain this evening though areas of Northern Scotland and Wales are likely to be cloudier, the PA WeatherCentre said.

The Leonid meteors are minute particles from the tail of comet Tempel-Tuttle, which orbits the Sun every 33 years leaving a trail of dust and ice.

Astronomers advise stargazers to find a cloud-free, dark site away from city lights, preferably with a good view towards the north-east horizon.

Starting this evening - between 11pm and dawn - enthusiasts can expect to see fast-moving shooting stars anywhere in the north-eastern sky, coming from the constellation of Leo.

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