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Moon, clouds could eclipse meteor show

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2003

A full moon and partly cloudy skies tonight could dim the odds that the yearly shooting star show known as the Perseid meteor shower will be visible in Pittsburgh.

The light show is created when dust particles from the Swift-Tuttle comet are illuminated as they hit the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about 132,000 mph.

On a clear night without a full moon, between 50 and 60 meteors can be seen streaking across the sky every hour, said Jean Philpott, of the Carnegie Science Center's Buhl Planetarium.

But the amount of light cast by the nearly full moon will reduce that number to about 20 meteors each hour, Philpott said. Throughout most of the year, only about a half-dozen meteors can be seen each hour.

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