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Leonid Meteor Shower Streaks the Sky Every November

Aired November 17, 2000 - 1:53 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK LOCKRIDGE, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: The Leonid Meteor Shower happens every November when the earth passes through the tail of the comet Tempel-Tuttle, and the comet is on a 33-year orbit around the sun. So every 33 years, the thinking goes, the earth will pass through an especially dense part of that tail. In 1998 people really primed, they were really ready for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A blazing fireball coming straight from the constellation Orion. One of the stunning images captured by a research plane flying high above the South China Sea during the peak of Leonid Meteor Shower. There were a few other dazzlers, but just a few.

The Leonid meteors, instead of roaring like the lion they're named for -- the constellation Leo, seemed to purr along quietly. Though some spectators might have been disappointed, the relatively limp Leonid's display might have been good news for NASA, the Russian space agency and commercial satellite operators, as no damage to any of the earth's nearly 600 working spacecraft was immediately reported and the two cosmonauts aboard Mir were unharmed.

LOCKRIDGE: Every November we get another chance to see the Leonid Meteor sowers; and astronomers so they are so inherently unpredictable that just when you think it might be a small-scale shower, maybe you'll get a great one. So every November when it comes around it's probably a good idea to go outside and look up and maybe you'll get a real treat.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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