September 30, 2022
A brand new meteor storm could light up the skies early next week – if it appears

Some meteor showers have been watched in wonder by humans going back to antiquity. Others, like the upcoming Tau Herculids shower, are barely old enough to drink — if they take place at all.

The evening of 30 May and morning of 31 May will be the peak time for observing the Tau Herculids, which could strew the skies above North America with as many as 1,000 shooting stars per hour. That’s a rate that, if observed, would qualify the Tau Herculids as a meteor storm, not just a meteor shower.

But there’s a catch: Those who stay up or get up to try and catch the peak of the Tau Herculids — 4.45 to 5.17am GMT or 12.45 to 1.17am EDT on Tuesday 31 May, or 9.45 to 10:17pm PDT — might see nothing at all. And that has everything to do with the recent origin of this all or nothing meteor event.

Many meteor showers result when Earth passes through the tail of debris left by a comet in its long orbit around the Sun. The annual Lyrid meteor shower, for instance, which lit up the skies in late April, results from the trail of dust particles left by the Comet C/1861 G1. Although the comet was discovered in 1861, records of humans watching the resulting meteor showers date back 2,700 years.

» continue to The Independent