July 20, 2024

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Scientists say the next big meteor shower could see a massive “blowout”.

Scientists say the next big meteor shower could see a massive “blowout”.

If you saw a lot of “shooting stars” this weekend during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, you probably have a burning question that needs an answer – when’s the next question?

There are approximately a dozen meteor showers a year. The annual peak dates are quite predictable because the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is set and known. Meteor showers are the result of dust and debris left by comets in the inner solar system. Crucially, it is only when streams of material drift through the Earth’s orbital path around the sun that we can experience meteor showers.

If the Perseids are the most common meteor shower of the year, they aren’t the most prolific. Besides, there’s a good chance this December will see not only the peak of the Geminid meteor shower — known to be the heaviest on record — but also a sudden outburst from the Andromedid meteor shower, which hasn’t been active for over a decade.

Here’s everything you need to know about the next five meteor showers in the remaining months of 2023:

1. Orionid meteor shower

Friday/Saturday, October 20/21 sees the peak of the annual meteor shower caused by the world’s most famous comet – 1P Halley. Expect about 20 “meteors” per hour at the peak, though with a first quarter moon they will be hard to see in the bleached night sky. This is one that we miss.

More from ForbesHalley’s comet will start returning soon. Watch “Rising Stars” this week, 37 years after their last appearance

2. Leonid’s meteor shower

Peaking overnight on Friday/Saturday, November 17/18, 2023, the Leonid meteor shower is known for bright meteors with continuous trains. Expect about 10-20 “meteors” per hour. The moon will be a rising crescent, leaving a dark sky after midnight. Good night stargazing with an increased chance of seeing a few “shooting stars”.

3. Andromeda meteor shower

In early December – seeing a moonless night sky – you can see a sudden meteor shower producing about 200 “meteors” at its peak. He has not been active for several decades, but A.J paper It claims that Andromeda meteor showers could impress in 2023. Famous for spectacular eruptions in 1872 and 1885 – when they produced thousands of meteors per hour – Andromeda is expected to bring “moderate to strong” activity in 2023 and 2036 and “should be Observers warn.”

4. Geminid meteor shower

One of the most prolific meteors of the year, the Geminids will peak on Wednesday/Thursday, December 13/14, 2023. It is possible to see up to 120 multicolored “meteors” per hour. The peak occurs just one day after the new moon, so conditions for the Geminids this year are perfect. As a bonus, it’s possible for Earth to encounter a stream of debris from Comet 46P/Wirtanen from December 10-12, according to the universe today. This is worth making a monitoring plan.

5. Ursid Meteor Shower

The Ursids only produce about 10 “meteors” every hour at the peak, which is Thursday/Friday, December 21/22, 2023. The full moon will be after the first quarter, making the night sky bright. This one is to be missed.

The best way to see a meteor shower

All meteor showers are best seen in the small hours after midnight from a location away from light pollution. Grab a reclining chair, a blanket (either to lie down on and/or wrap yourself in), turn off your smartphone (its white light will kill your night vision) and keep your eyes on the sky. Dress warmly – whatever the time of year – eat plenty of snacks and hot drinks, and take frequent breaks.

Seeing a lot of “shooting stars” requires patience and dedication – and when you see a bright “fireball”, it’s all worth it!

I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.

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