In some exciting news for space lovers across the globe, astronomers have predicted a meteor shower, named Tau Herculids, to light up the sky in various parts of the United States and other countries during the intervening night of May 31, 2022.
A report by Space.com says that the meteor shower may turn into a meteor storm of 1,000 shooting stars, with the US space agency already calling it an “all or nothing event”. The whole thing will be visible when the earth passes through the debris coming out from the Comet known as 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3.
As per the New York Times, the Tau Herculids meteor is expected to originate from the constellation Boötes. The meteor will radiate from the Arcturus star, a ruddy orange-yellow entity, which will be the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere. According to experts, one can locate Arcturus star easily after finding the Big Dipper. The simplest way is to track the line from the last two stars inside the Dipper’s handle, in a direction that is away from the bowl. The immediate star that can be seen will be Arcturus.
Enthusiasts can watch the livestream through the Virtual Telescope Project led by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi in Italy. This live stream will also feature views that will be captured through sky camera in Brazil and Arizona.
“If the debris from SW 3 was travelling more than 220 miles [354 kilometres] per hour when it separated from the comet, we might see a nice meteor shower. If the debris had slower ejection speeds, then nothing would make it to Earth and there would be no meteors from this comet,” Bill Cooke, a NASA astronomer, has been quoted as saying in various media reports.
NASA wrote in the guide, “If it makes it to us this year, the debris from SW 3 will strike Earth’s atmosphere very slowly, travelling at just 10 miles [16 km] per second — which means much fainter meteors than those belonging to the eta Aquariids.”
“But North American stargazers are taking particular note this year, because the tau Herculid radiant will be high in the night sky at the forecast peak time,” it added.