Author: Doug (---.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net)
Date: 11-18-06 18:28
Yes. Shooting stars = meteors. When the earth passes through the debris left in space by a comet any particles which come into contact with the atmosphere burn up and we see them as a shooting star. As the earth orbits the sun, it returns annually to approximately the same place in the solar system. The closer it comes to the center of the comet's trajectory, the more likely it is that higher numbers of particles will collide with the atmosphere. When the numbers are extraordinarily high, scientists call it a meteor storm, and the results can be pretty spectacular.
The experts are stopping just short of calling this year's Leonids a storm, but it should be awesome to view if Culebra's skies are clear. Again, tonight is the peak. For the past couple weeks meteor numbers have been increasing and for the next couple weeks they will taper off to 'normal'.
By the way, in addition to the Leonids, there is a very fine shower each year that peaks on August 12 called the Perseids.
Now that we've waded through the science gobbledegook, start thinking of all the wishes you can make on tonights shooting stars!