Get ready: Meteor storm possibly hitting Long Island night of May 30
GreaterPortJeff coverage is funded in part by Toast Coffeehouse, now with four locations across Suffolk County. On the night of May 30 into the early hours of May 31, Long Islanders will be in for a treat when a meteor shower of galactic proportions graces the darkened skies with a showing of the like not seen in 20 years. A comet with the esoteric name of 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW3) has been orbiting the sun about every five-and-a-half years. A paper about the comet penned by News 12 meteorologist and instructor at New York’s Hayden Planetarium Joe Rao said that trip caused quite a shock in the sky observing community almost 30 years ago. “Here was a classic demonstration of how a comet can go around the Sun on numerous occasions as a staid member of the solar community, and then abruptly and unpredictably undergo some sort of violent change,” he wrote. The reason for the burst in luminosity was that the comet had fractured into four distinct parts sending debris out everywhere.
“Since comets are relatively fragile, stresses from heat and gravity and outgassing, for example, could be responsible for their tendency to breakup in such a spectacular fashion,” a NASA post explained. The meteor shower that might result from SW3 is being called the tau Herculid shower because of the constellation that the comet’s dust particles usually seem to emerge from. That is if the particles raining down on earth put on the show sky watchers all hope that it does. “This is going to be an all or nothing event,” said NASA’s Bill Cooke in a statement. “If the debris from SW3 was traveling more than 220 miles per hour when it separated from the comet, we might see a nice meteor shower,” he said. Rao says that experts are split on whether or not Earth will pass through the material ejected from comet SW3.
- When can I see tau Herculis?
- What is called when a meteor shower has a frequency of at least one meteor per second?
- What is it called when meteor shower has a frequency of at least one meteor per second?
- How does meteor build work?
- What is it called when a meteor shower at a frequency of at least 1 m per second?
“Unfortunately, such calculations are fraught with uncertainties,” Roa wrote on his Facebook page. Rao has a series of talks on the subject planned in the weeks before the meteor shower (or storm) arrives. Experts say the best way to observe any meteor shower is to find a nice dark sky without obstruction, lay down in a lawn chair, allow time for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and just look up – no telescope needed although you might want to keep a pair of binoculars handy. While expectations for the SW3 shower are tempered, there is a lot of optimism among sky watchers. “Let’s hope nature is in a ‘show-off mode’ that night and spread the word,” Rao wrote on Facebook.
Read full article at Greater Long Island