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Why Is It Difficult For Many People To See A Meteor Shower?

Updated on March 10, 2010
A real meteor shower
A real meteor shower

There are numerous reasons that contribute to the difficulty of people attempting to view a meteor shower.  Firstly, they're not visible all the time.  While they may last for multiple days, they may only be visible to the naked eye for part of that time.  Furthermore, of course, there is light pollution, the scourge of the amateur astronomer.

Light Pollution and Poor Equipment

These are the two biggest reasons why people can't generally see meteor showers that well.  Firstly, unless the night is very clear, seeing meteor showers with the naked eye is difficult.  Sometimes they're only visible with help.  Evolution didn't really plan on human beings ever needing to look such distances, so it's to be expected.

Secondly, light pollution.  When you look in the distant sky all you're seeing is light that's travelled to get to your eye.  If another source of light is put in your way, obviously these light particles traveling through space are going to have a tougher time getting to you.when there's so much excess light.  So, those of you living in a big city probably won't have as much luck as someone out in the exurbs or rural areas.

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