Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Meteor shower possible Thursday night

Meteor shower possible Thursday night

Hundreds of meteors are set to light up the night sky for a brief spell, when the spectacular show kicks off at 04:50 Universal Time on Friday.

One expert at NASA said he's skeptical there even will be a meteor shower or that all the previous outbursts were caused the Alpha Monocerotids Meteor Stream.

The Farmers' Almanac suggests that the best way to see the meteor outburst is to get away from city lights, bundle up and face toward the east and southeast while looking up at all parts of the sky.

"Unlike most meteor outbursts which last for several hours, strong activity from the Alpha Monocerotids is over within an hour and easily missed", the society wrote.

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Part of the Perseid meteor shower, seen in Salgotarjan, Hungary, on August 13.

NASA's Ames Research Center scientist Peter Jenniskens and the Finnish Fireball Networks' Esko Lyytinen anticipate another good show. Their predictions suggest that Earth will slam into the same stream that it encountered almost a quarter-century ago, which means 2019 should deliver a similarly spectacular sky show.

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The 1995 event produced up to 400 meteors per hour, enough to warrant the title "meteor storm".

This time of year, the constellation Monoceros rises above the northeast horizon in late evening across the Northern Hemisphere.

Western Europe and northwestern Africa will have the best locations to view the 2019 Monocerotid meteor shower, according to AMS.

Data shows the peak of the storm will be around 11:50 p.m. but meteors could been seen as early as 11:15 p.m. Outbursts like what's expected tonight have occurred four times last century with the most recent being 1995. But during that time frame, many meteors were seen in the sky.

"And since we have not yet discovered this mysterious parent comet, who knows how close the estimate of the orbit is to the actual?" he said.

Once it starts, Jenniskens recommends that people keep watching for about an hour to ensure they see the full show.

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