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Celestial sparklers: make a wish tonight

By T. Lalith Singh

HYDERABAD, AUG. 10. On Wednesday night, all you city slickers drive out of the concrete jungle and its bright lights. Elsewhere, just go out into the open. Find a spot that provides a clear view of the skies and lie back. Ensure that your feet point somewhere between the southern and eastern horizon and have your sights glued in the darkness above. Make a wish and start counting.

The effort will pay richly for those keen to enjoy the celestial sparklers, shooting stars. For the annual Perseid meteor shower has begun and is scheduled to peak on Wednesday night. Scores of meteors will streak across the sky. You could count up to 80 to 100 meteors an hour, provided the sky is uncluttered. The event will be the result of the earth passing through the dust trail left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The journey started on July 23 and is likely to last till August 22, according to Y. Ravi Kiron, secretary of the Association of Amateur Astronomers. Dust-sized particles are to hit our atmosphere and appear to streak across.

``Perseid is the most famous of all meteor showers and it never fails to provide an impressive display,'' Mr. Ravi Kiron says. The best time to catch the meteor shower is around 10 p.m., he says. ``Just look towards the northeast where they appear to originate from the constellation of Perseus, which at midnight lies just below the easily recognisable `W' shape of Cassiopeia (`Kashyapi').''

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