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Why go to Australia?

Studies of the Leonids, the famous annual meteor shower coming from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, suggest that the number of visible meteors will reach a peak of perhaps 15000 per hour on the night of 18-19 November. Unfortunately, the Leonids will be below the horizon in Europe at that time. However, the Far East and Australia should be well placed to see the light show.

"Although Mongolia and China are slightly more attractive when it comes to the best observing conditions for the predicted Leonid peaks, we have decided to go to the Australian desert," said ESA scientist Detlef Koschny.

"We took into account the cloud-free atmospheric conditions, the ease of access and the familiar language," he explained. "But our decision was also driven by the fact that we can combine our meteor campaign with a test programme for a prototype of a new scientific instrument."

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