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Meteor Shower Tonight | Dates And Viewing Tips!

Earth is anticipated to cross this debris trail left behind by the fractured comet between Monday night and the early morning of Tuesday. This could lead to an entire meteor shower for the first time.

Night sky observers who live in North America have the best chance to see the Hercule shower and the Tau Herculid shower, with NASA suggesting around one a.m. on the East Coast or 10 p.m. on the West Coast as the best time to see. The moon is still young, and there is no moonlight that will blind the meteors.

But there’s no guarantee of an amazing display, even if the sky appears clean and dark. NASA stressed. The event could be a complete failure.

The comet, officially known as 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, or SW3, was discovered in 1930 by German observers Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachman. The comet wasn’t seen again until the latter part of the 1970s, and then in the 1990s, the comet split into many parts, NASA said.

When SW3 crossed Earth yet again in 2006, it was split into around 70 pieces. It continues to break up in the years since the statement stated.

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NASA stated that the observations of its Spitzer Space Telescope published in 2009 showed that certain fragments were in motion at a pace that makes them noticeable and awe-inspiring for space scientists.

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Every year, there are around 30 meteor showers. They happen when Earth travels through the debris trail caused by a comet or an asteroid. They are visible to the naked eye.

Certain meteor showers were observed for many centuries. For instance perseid, the Perseid meteor shower that occurs every month in the months of August and September was observed around 2200 years ago and was observed by Chinese Astronomers, NASA said. Meteor showers that are new like the one we’re seeing, should they occur, are extremely uncommon.

“All or Nothing event”

The debris that comes from SW3 will impact the atmosphere of Earth at a slower rate than other meteor showers. It’s the speed at which the dust is struck instead of how much debris triggers the shower.

If visible, it means that the meteors are smaller, for instance, compared to the eta Aquariids’ meteors earlier in the month.

“This is going to be an all-or-nothing event. If the debris from SW3 was traveling more than 220 miles per hour when it separated from the comet, we might see a nice meteor shower. If the debris had slower ejection speeds, then nothing will make it to Earth, and there will be no meteors from this comet,” Bill Cooke, who leads NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, made the statement in a press release.

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Check out some of the brightest fireballs of Earth at 01:15.

Meteor showers are usually named by the constellation from which they radiate into the night skies. However, Robert Lunsford, secretary-general of the International Meteor Organization, said that the tau Herculids were incorrectly identified. They are believed to emanate from a star constellation known as Bootes, located northwest of the star with a brilliant orange called Arcturus (Alpha Bootis).

“The radiant is expected to be a large area of the sky and not a pinpoint. So any slow meteor from this general area of the sky can be expected to be from SW3,” Lunsford wrote in a blog article.

“You need not look directly overhead as meteors may appear in any portion of the sky. They are more likely to appear at lower elevations in the sky since at these elevations one is looking through a far thicker slice of the atmosphere than when looking straight upwards.”

More Meteor Showers In The Coming Days

If the Tau Herculid shower proves to be a false alarm, do not worry, there are plenty of other chances to observe meteor showers during the year.

The Delta Aquariids are best seen from the southern tropics. They are most active between July 28-29, when the moon is 74% full.

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Incredibly, another meteor shower is also a prominent one at the same time – it’s the Alpha Capricornids. While this is a less powerful shower, it is noted to create several bright fireballs at their peak. It is visible to anyone, no matter which part of the Equator they’re on.

Perseid meteor shower, which is the most popular at this time of year, will reach its peak between August 11-12 within the Northern Hemisphere, when the moon is just 13% full.

Here’s the schedule for meteor showers for the remainder season, based on EarthSky’s meteor shower forecast.

  • October 8: Draconids
  • October 21: Orionids
  • November 4 to 5: South Taurids
  • November 11 to 12: North Taurids
  • November 17: Leonids
  • December 13 to 14: Geminids
  • December 22: Ursids
Chris Evan was born in Quebec and raised in Montreal, except for the time when he moved back to Quebec and attended high school there. He studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. He began writing after obsessing over books.

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