Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight Set To Disrupt Gambling Across The USANovember 16, 2010 11:59 am
The annual astronomical event known as the Leonid Meteor Shower is expected to disrupt gambling action in casinos across America and the rest of the world tonight, as the spectacular event fast nears its celestial climax.
Usually taking place between November 13th and November 21st, this year the Leonids will reach their peak between November 17th and 18th when up to 30 meteors per hour can be seen shooting across the night sky every hour.
Back in August, USA casinos saw their floors gradually emptied during the Perseids meteor storm, with one of the worst affected areas being Nevada with its clear night sky.
Instead of being seen as a disruption to their business, casinos generally view these annual events as a welcome distraction for their customers, who take some time out from the gaming tables, slots or playing poker to watch nature’s very own firework display at work.
Previously commenting on the matter, gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins said:
“Meteor showers will give casino gamblers a nice break from their slots. Sometimes, gamblers can get caught in a rut of sitting in front of the machines for hours. At least the meteor showers will allow them time to re-energize.”
Meteor showers are caused by debris particles, known as ‘meteoroids,’ entering then incinerating in Earth’s atmosphere, thus causing the dramatic visual displays known as meteors or shooting stars.
The Leonids appear to radiate from the Leo constellation, and the best time to see them will be late tonight from 1 am to 6am, on Wednesday, November 17, or Thursday, November 18 local time, after the moon sets. As senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, Alan MacRobert explains:
“Viewing conditions will be excellent, because the Moon won’t be lighting the sky this year. You might see 20 or 30 meteors per hour under ideal dark-sky conditions.”
The incredible Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833 is generally credited with starting the modern study of meteors, after it caused widespread panic in the United States, with many people believing the end of the world was nigh. Then thousands of meteors were seen in the night sky per hour and as astronomer eye-witness at the time Agnes Clerke recalled:
“On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth…The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs.”
Here’s hoping that the Leonid storm may bring gamblers a little extra luck tonight, or at least provide them with plenty of stunning views to remember their night out.
More fun facts on tonight’s Leonid Meteor Shower can be found here.