Shattered Comet Could Bring Surprise Meteor Shower to the Hudson Valley
A comet, which broke up into more than 68 pieces upon its last appearance, could bring the potential for a surprise meteor shower across the skies. What makes this potential unique is that this is not an annual meteor shower that occurs every year. The best times to see the shower will be May 30 and 31. As of now, The Weather Channel is calling for partly cloudy skies across the Hudson Valley for both nights, and it's a New Moon.
So, what are we looking at here?
What is It?
Space.com says it will be known as the tau Herculid meteor shower and is the remnants of a split-up comet called 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. NASA astronomer Bill Cooke says what will determine how spectacular of a show this will be was how fast the debris traveling at the time the comet broke apart. Also, the Washington Post says the position of the debris in the Earth's orbit will be a make or break factor. Cooke calls it an "all or nothing event".
However, if the tau Herculid meteor shower is a "boom", we could see as many as 1,000 meteors an hour if everything goes right, according to the Washington Post. The Post even goes on to use the term "meteor storm," which sounds quite dramatic. Of course, the chances we see everything line up just right to provide that sort of viewing is unlikely, according to scientists.
The best time for viewing will be early Tuesday morning right after 1:00 AM.
Other Celestial Events Coming
We just saw the Eta Aquarid meteor shower in early May, which is the debris leftover from Halley's Comet. The next time to see any meteor showers will be when the Southern Delta Aquarids and the alpha Capriconids arrive in late July, those are fairly minor events. The Perseids will arrive in August.
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