A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Thursday

23 Novembre, 2019, 09:51 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Meteor scientists Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen tell the publication that if this year's alpha Monocertoid shower reaches its potential, there could be up to 100 meteors streaking across the sky between about 11:30 p.m. tonight and 12:10 a.m. or so Friday.

The Monoceros constellation, the unicorn, will be the center of attention on Thursday, November 21 as a meteor storm will be visible for only 15-45 minutes beginning at around 10:15 PM Central Time.

Stargazers might want to take note of this advice from the meteor society: "Potential observers are encouraged start viewing the sky at least an hour before the predicted time of maximum activity in case the timing estimates are in error".

The best views will be in South America, eastern North America, western Europe and northwestern Africa.

This difference between alpha Monocerotid and other meteor showers is this one will involve several "bits of comet material disintegrating above your head" instead of a few big meteors. Two astronomers predicted the outburst will last less than an hour and could even yield more than 400 meteors in that time. However, it has brought huge meteor rates four times in the past, the latest being in 1995. "In 1985 and 1995 the action arrived at a level with ZHRs of around 700 and 400".

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Jenniskens and Lyytinen are expecting similar numbers on Thursday night. Be that as it may, at NASA, one meteorologist trusts it won't be so fantastic. The parent comet of Alpha Monocerotids has not been found, driving Cooke to address how precise the expectation is.

The meteor shower comes from the dust trail of an unknown comet, the meteor scientists said.

"Regardless of whether there is no upheaval, it doesn't damage to get out under the stars for a piece", Cooke said.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

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