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Perseid meteor shower 2010: Nasa says stargazers to enjoy dazzling space show

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They say it is called the Perseids because they appear to stream in from the direction of the constellation of Perseus but in fact can appear in any part of the sky.

Nasa experts say the shower, which could a meteor every minute at its peak, is one of the most reliable for astronomers to view.

But this year will be even more spectacular because a new Moon this week means there will be no overpowering moonlight to spoil the show.

This also means star watchers with clear skies can look forward to viewing many of the bright meteor streaks as they burn up in the upper atmosphere after hitting earth at more than 140,000mph.

Scientists say the meteor shower will peak between Wednesday and Saturday with amateur astronomers being able to see up to 100 meteors an hour alone on Thursday night.

The highest rates are likely to be seen in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Earth has already entered the outer regions of the stream of meteoroids, left by a comet called Swift-Tuttle with some observers already reporting sightings.

The radiant, from which the meteors appear to stream, is low in the sky when darkness falls but climbs steadily through the night.

“It promises to be one of the best displays of the year,” a Nasa spokesman said.

“If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a peak display of at least 80 meteors per hour.

“A waxing crescent moon will set before the shower becomes active, setting a perfect stage for meteor watching.”

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said that near perfect viewing conditions will create a spectacular show.

“Warm summer nights make the Perseids great fun to watch out for,” he said.

“Make yourself comfortable in a deckchair under a clear sky, away from the street lights, and you should soon see a few streaking across the sky.”

Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer at the California-based SETI Institute, told NBC News: “The whole shower, we think, is about 160,000 years old.

“The bulk of the shower you see is 5,000 years old.”

People will not be subjected to any harm because the meteors are only the size of grains of sand and are completely vaporised, scientists say.

Rare vintage racing Bugatti could fetch world record price

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A Bugatti Type 51 race car in the 2007 ‘Grand Prix de l’?ge d’Or’ in the pitlane of Dijon-Prenois Photo: Akela NDE

The 79-year-old Type 51, which contested 17 European Grand Prix races, is considered one of the finest surviving of its kind, boasting its original bodywork, engine and gearbox.

It is set fetch $4.5m (£2.9m) in the sale at the Pebble Beach motoring week in Monterey this Saturday. That would be the highest price ever paid for a grand prix racing Bugatti.

It is being sold by the British private collector who paid the current world record sum for a Type 35 Bugatti two years ago, at £2.5m.

Along with other alternative investments, the collector car market has been boosted over the past year and a half as the wealthy move towards more tangible assets in the wake of the credit crunch.

Bugatti historian David Sewell said the latest sale, 1931-built chassis 51132, is “a remarkably complete and original car and there is no doubt to its authenticity.”

He said it “ranks among the finest survivors of the highly desirable Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix”.

The last time a Bugatti Type 51 came to auction, nearly ten years ago in 2001 it made in excess of £1m.

Dan Warrener, car specialist at RM Auctions, which is holding the sale, said: “Many of our clientele have been disgruntled with the anxiety caused by the wild fluctuations in the world stock markets, and while the past two years have demonstrated that ‘blue chip’ stocks can be reduced to zero, serious depreciation in rare car values has never happened.

“Rare collector cars, like fine art, have increased in value dramatically in the past decade. Many price records have been broken in the past two years, while more traditional investments have gone down.”

Airlines grounds overweight staff: paper

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish Airlines has grounded 28 flight attendants for being overweight and given them six months to slim down or face reassignment, a newspaper said on Saturday.


The employees, 13 of whom are women, are on unpaid leave until they lose weight, Haber Turk daily said, citing a statement from state-run Turkish Airlines. All of them previously had been warned to shape up, it added.


“Weight and height are important factors at all airlines. These criteria are important both in terms of appearance and the ability to move about,” the statement said.


No one was available over the weekend at Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth largest carrier by passenger volume, to confirm the report.


Izzet Levi, head of a cabin attendants’ association who was among those furloughed, told Haber Turk he must drop 10 kilos (22 pounds) to reach 96 kilos if he is to return to his post.


(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Michael Roddy)