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New meteor shower could dazzle the night sky Monday into Tuesday

Posted at 9:32 AM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 09:33:55-04

Earth is expected to pass through the debris trail of a broken comet and it could result in a brand new meteor shower on Monday night and early Tuesday morning. 

The possible Tau-Herculids Meteor Shower stems from an event that took place back in the 1990s. Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 broke apart into four large pieces with several smaller, fragmented pieces surrounding the four parent pieces in 1995. Over time the comet has continued to break apart, creating a large debris field of meteoroids.

NASA said observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope published in 2009 indicated that some fragments are moving fast enough to be visible, exciting space scientists.

Night sky watchers in North America have the best chance of seeing the tau Herculid shower, with NASA recommending around 1 a.m. on Tuesday as the best time to look up. The moon is new, so there will be no moonlight to obscure the meteors.

There could be four meteors per minute - and up to 1,000 per hour.

However, there's no guarantee of a dazzling display even if the sky is clear and dark, NASA stressed. Everything must come together perfectly for this cosmic display. It could come to nothing.