Monday evening and Tuesday morning, thousands of fans watching the night sky can witness Meteor shower Tau Herculidaswhich results when Earth passes through the debris path of a segmented comet.
The Comet known as SW3It was discovered in 1930 by German observers Arnold Schwasmann and Arno Arthur Wechmann. It orbits the sun every 5.4 years.but it was so faint that it was not seen again until the late 1970s.
In 1995, astronomers realized that the comet had become about 600 times brighter, and upon further investigation, They learned that SW3 had split into several pieces.
When SW3 passed Earth again in 2006, it crashed again, and has continued to fray ever since. In 2009, NASA noticed that Some fragments move fast enough to be visiblewhich may give hope that something from these remains can still be seen tonight.
If it is visible, up to 1,000 bright stars can be produced per hour, according to NASA.
Where can it be seen?
phenomenon They can be observed almost throughout North America. However, NASA cautioned that the show might not be as impressive.
The best times to watch it are around 1 a.m. on the East Coast or 10 p.m. on the West Coast. Also, since the moon is new, there will be no moonlight to obscure the meteors.
When does meteor shower occur?
About 30 meteors occur each year when Earth passes through the path of debris left by a comet or asteroid, which can be seen with the naked eye.
“Meteorites are not uncommon,” explained Bill Cook, who directs NASA’s Meteor Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“Every day, the Earth is bombarded with millions of interplanetary debris fragments that pass through our solar system,” he said in a statement.
Most particles are no larger than dust and sand. When colliding with the upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 miles per second, they ignite and burn.
However, the meteor showers Caused by the streams of comets and debris from asteroidswhich creates more flashes and rays of light as the Earth passes through the debris field.
Why is there a danger of not seeing them
Debris from SW3 will hit the atmosphere of Earth is slower than other meteor showers and their speed What the debris hits, not the size of the debris, causes precipitation.
But stargazers in North America are paying extra attention this year because Tau Herculids will be high in the night sky at the expected rush hour, and with it being a new moon, there won’t be any moonlight to hide the little ones.
“This would be an all-or-nothing event. If it was a wreck The SW3 was traveling at over 220 mph When they separated from the comet, we could see a nice meteor. “If the speed of debris ejection was slower, nothing would reach Earth and there would be no meteors from this comet,” Cook said.
The shower of Tau Herculidas is not the only one that can be observed this year. On July 28 and 29, the Delta Aquarids can be seen more safely.
The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular of the year, will also peak between August 11 and 12 in the Northern Hemisphere, when the moon is 13% full.
“Evil coffee nerd. Analyst. Incurable bacon practitioner. Total twitter fan. Typical food aficionado.”