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September 1, 2009

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Sky-high anticipation: shooting stars over China

AN Alpha Aurigid meteor shower would be visible over most of China in the early hours of today and tomorrow, astronomers said yesterday.

"It's better to view the shower about 2am since the moon is expected to fall then," said Yan Jiarong, astronomer from Jiangsu Astronomical Society in east China's Jiangsu Province.

Despite the shower being small, with enough patience people should still see dozens of shooting stars, Yan said.

Tonight would also be a good viewing time, Yan said.

But the astronomer warned that the meteor shower forecast may not be as accurate as that of eclipses, so it is possible observers may miss a glimpse of the falling stars.

A Delta Aurigid meteor shower, another from the same constellation, is predicted to be active between September 18 and October 10 and peak on September 29.

A meteor shower is an event where some meteors are observed to shine in the night sky. The meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris entering Earth's atmosphere at extremely high speed.

Auriga is a constellation in the northern sky.


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