Bay Area may soon get a glimpse of a never-before-seen “meteor storm.”  here’s how

Bay Area may soon get a glimpse of a never-before-seen “meteor storm.” here’s how

A spectacular new cosmic spectacle could erupt in the night sky over the Bay Area on Memorial Day — but again, that may not be the case.

Astronomers are on edge over the Tau Herculids, an unprecedented meteor shower that could possibly appear around 10 p.m. on May 30. Made up of fragmented particles from Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, which began to disintegrate in 1995, the debris is expected to intersect Earth’s orbit again next week – but this time it may be visible to the eye. naked.

NASA models show that if the particles were ejected at a high enough speed when it dissolved, North America could see the meteor shower.

But if the particles were slow-moving, don’t expect to see much more than the usual constellations and maybe an orbiting satellite that night.

“It could be a meteor storm, which is spectacular,” said Robert Lunsford, fireball report coordinator for the American Meteor Society. “But it could be so dark that no one sees it except radar.”

For there to be a meteor storm, debris from the comet had to be ejected at nearly 60 miles per hour, which would result in “a prolific display of very slow-moving, bright, and colorful meteors,” according to a Journal article by Joe Rao, a professor of astronomy at the American Museum of Natural History.

However, debris from the comet is moving in the same general direction as Earth, meaning any meteor would move much slower than expected for a meteor shower, according to the American Meteor Society. While this doesn’t entirely prevent a fireball storm from occurring, it does make it more unlikely.

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