500-year-old meteor shower passes over NZ

By Kieran Nash

A 500-year-old meteor shower will pass over the country on Wednesday morning.

The shower will be at its heaviest from 9.34am to 9.44am, but meteors will be visible from about 3am.

Astronomer at Auckland's Stardome Grant Christie predicts it will be a strong shower and mostly visible low in the northeast.

He said the number of meteors will peak at about 500 per hour in the heaviest 10 minutes, but in the early morning will be more like 50 per hour.

"It's still worth having a look," Mr Christie said.

"Before the sun comes up there will be a good chance one will see some meteors."

He said meteor showers are caused by materials shed by comets as they warm up.

These particular meteors are caused by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which shed this particular batch of meteors in 1466.

"We're running into material shed by the comet some 500 years ago. It's quite amazing," he said.

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