Thursday meteor shower could produce 400 shooting stars an hour

21 Novembre, 2019, 02:25 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Scientists predict rare ‘Unicorn’ meteor shower outburst Thursday night

According to meteor scientists Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens, there's a "good chance" that we will see the first alpha Monocerotids meteor storm since 1995, a storm that produced roughly 400 meteors per hour.

The outburst is expected to happen at around 11:50 p.m. EST, and stargazers should start looking toward the sky about an hour ahead of time. The waning moon will cause only minor interference and the best views will be in western Europe, eastern North America, South America and northwestern Africa.

This NASA chart gauges how many meteors are likely to be seen emanating from the Alpha Monocerotid radiant on Thursday night.

Something different for this year is, the fact that the meteor shower will pass through a stream of debris from an unknown comet that streaked through space earlier this week.

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The meteors will radiate from Monoceros, a faint constellation that gets its name from the Greek word for unicorn.

And this is all happening amid the Leonid meteor shower that goes on through November, but which peaked last weekend.

The large outbursts of this shower previously occurred in 1925, 1935, 1985 and 1995, with the outburst being a complete surprise for each of those years, except when it was predicted in 1995, according to the American Meteor Society. And you won't need binoculars or telescopes to enjoy the show. You may wait for several minutes and see nothing, then see several shooting across the sky at once.


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