The 'mother' of all meteor showers will fall this week

Models suggest that a comet that split away in 1995 (and is still disintegrating) will approach our orbit, according to Earth Sky

That means we'll witness a spectacular meteor shower unlike anything we've seen in most of our lives.

According to Earth Sky, the Tau Herculids meteor shower circles the sun every 5.4 years. So, if May 31 isn't our time, it may be this July or August. Tau Herculids, according to Earth Sky, is a comet that astronomers and scientists are keeping a careful eye on.

According to Universe Today, Tau Herculid, discovered in 1930, should blast into our atmosphere about 1 a.m. on May 31.

"When comets travel close to the Sun, they lay down debris streams of dust shed during their inner solar system passage.  If a planet happens to be in the way (such as the Earth) a meteor shower occurs, witnessed as silent flitting streaks through the sky."

According to Universe Today, this unique meteor shower from such an obscure comet would consist of a thousand streams blazing across the sky in few seconds, but might continue up to an hour.

"Welcome to the wonderful world of meteor shower predictions and prognostications where earth is due to cross a couple key streams and believe me if this happens, a meteor outburst approaching a thousand meteors per hour is an unforgettable sight."

The important date and time to monitor for a potential Herculid outburst in 2022 is Tuesday, May 31st, at 5:00 a.m. Universal Time or 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time EDT. Another advantage is that the radiant will be high in the sky for Northern Hemisphere watchers in the pre-dawn hours. The Moon is likewise far out of the way, having reached New on May 30th.

A tenfold rise over the projected Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of 14 per hour from late-nineteenth-century streams might result in a ZHR of 140 (comparable to the yearly Geminids and Perseids)... While a 100-fold rise might result in the 2022 Tau Herculids exceeding real storm levels at over 1,400 miles per hour.

Reference(s): EarthSky, UniverseToday

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