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  Meteor: Astronomy: Meteor - HOW MANY METEORS
Posted on Saturday, December 04 @ 15:58:40 CST by astronomy

A meteor shower's activity is gauged by its zenithal hourly rate, or ZHR. This value, often quoted in the press and astronomy publications, has sometimes been the source of misunderstanding and disappointment.

The ZHR is an ideal value. It is, by definition, the number of meteors a single observer could possibly see during a shower's peak with the radiant directly overhead in a dark, clear sky.

Most observers, however, will not see as many meteors as the ZHR suggests. Obviously, if peak activity occurs during the day or when the radiant is below the horizon, few or no meteors will be visible.

Also, the more ambient light—artificial or natural— at your location, the fewer meteors you will see. City observers will see only the brightest meteors, and a bright Moon will wash out fainter meteors, even in the country.

Luck is another factor. If you happen to be looking in the wrong direction of the sky, a fast, short-lived meteor can easily sneak past you.




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