Published: Sun, November 24, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Thursday

A Rare Meteor Shower May Grace The Skies Thursday

The Alpha Monocerotidsare so named because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation Monoceros, the unicorn. If it is much smaller, or larger, the distance from the stream center will be bigger, and there will not be any sky show, just the normal AMOs, puttering along with their normal rate of 3 or so meteors per hour. The parent comet of Alpha Monocerotids has not been discovered, leading Cooke to question how accurate the prediction is. Tonight's crescent moon will shine relatively little light to drown out the spectacular sky show.

Sky & Telescope estimates there could be up to 400 meteors per hour originating from the night sky near the star Procyon, which is close to the constellation Monoceros (the unicorn), although the show will only last about a half-hour for earthlings.

The comet responsible for the potential sky show has never been sighted before, but it has apparently left circumstantial evidence of its existence based on four previous Earth encounters, the Almanac said. It is suggested that anyone wanting to view the storm to find a clear view of the sky facing east. The outburst will only last for about 15 minutes and the entire meteor shower will be around 40 minutes.

The shower is expected to reach its peak at 7 p.m., with the best viewing time for those in the Tampa region starting at 7:28 p.m., running to 8:20.

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Those living in South America, eastern North America, Western Europe and northwestern Africa will have the best view, according to CNN.

The meteor scientists are targeting 11:50 p.m.

While that rate is still consistent with a meteor shower, it's not almost the spectacular sight that the predicted 1,000 meteors per hour would be. "But most meteors will be easy to see, since they will be as bright as well known naked-eye stars like Polaris, Deneb, and Vega".

While there's no guarantee it will be exactly the same this time, scientists believe this event may be very impressive, with several meteors visible per second during the peak. They'll be moving at about 140,927 miles per hour.

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