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OKAY, so it was not as impressive as it
was supposed to be. But now that the
over-hyped Lenoid meteor shower is a
thing of the past, one group of people -
the satellite owners - are breathing
sighs of relief.
As far as meteor showers are concerned, astronomers still insist that
Lenoids put on a reasonable display. But
those who had predicted that Asian
viewers will see a storm similar to the
celebrated event of 1996, when skies
above North America were ablaze
with thousands of shooting stars, are all
looking the other way now.
So are the doomsday prophets who
suggested that many satellites would be
rendered useless by the meteor storm.
These orbiting multi-million dollar
pieces of hardware appear to have
emerged out of the storm unscathed.
Barren Beneski, a spokesperson for
Orbital Sciences in Virginia, USA, says that the company's 30 communications
and imaging satellites survived without
a detectable hit. "We see no degradation
in performance," he says.
Irridium telecoms consortium,
based in the US capital Washington,
boasts of more than twice the number
of satellites as Orbital. They, too, are
only happy that all their satellites
came out of the storm without a scratch.
Both the Hubble Space Telescope and
Russia's ageing Mir space station - two
of the largest objects currently in orbit,
experienced no problem..
The US National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) observations made from aircraft flying above
the Japanese island of Okinawa during
the predicted peak of the storm indicate
that the there were between 200 and
300 meteors per hour - 20 times as
many as in a typical Lenoid shower, but
still fewer than expected.
However, predictions about the
storm's timing may have been incorrect.
Reports from the UK-based Isaac
Newton Telescope imply that there were
between 1,000 and 2,000 meteor trails
an hour at 0500 Greenwich Mean Time
(GMT) on November 17 - about 16
hours before the predicted peak.