Everything to Know About 2022's Tau Herculid Meteor Shower, Including When It Peaks and How to Watch
Nearing the month's end, a spectacular starry spectacle known as the tau Herculid meteor shower is expected to peak during the night of May 30 into May 31 early morning. "This is going to be an all or nothing event," according to Bill Cooke, who leads NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Most meteor showers stem from comets as a result of their debris. As for the tau Herculid meteor shower, it is described by NASA as a "possible newcomer" this year due to the unpredictability of its corresponding comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, or "SW3. SW3 was discovered by German observers Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann in 1930 but wasn't visible again until the late 1970s due to its extreme faintness. Astronomers had noticed that its intense radiance was a result of its shatter, "littering its own orbital trail with debris," per NASA. Here's everything to know about the starry spectacle, should the SW3 comet's debris clash with Earth's atmosphere this year.
RELATED: Everything to Know About the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, Including When It Peaks and How to Watch Though it's still uncertain whether or not the tau Herculids will take place this year, but if the comet goes as planned, the meteor shower is expected to peak late at night on May 30 into May 31 early morning. Fortunately for stargazers in North America, the moon will be in its new moon phase during the time the showers are predicted to take place. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, maximum activity is set to occur at 1:00 a. RELATED: Watch Neowise Comet Zip Past Earth in 'Beautiful' Video from the International Space Station While meteor showers appear to radiate from their corresponding constellation, they most often can be viewed all over the night sky. The starry pattern associated with the tau Herculids is the Hercules constellation, the fifth largest constellation in the sky.
Like NASA's Cooke mentioned, this meteor shower is going to be "an all or nothing event," depending on the velocity of the comet's debris. "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," Cooke added. But according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the conditions could potentially align for a "perfect storm," in which the display can produce upwards of 1,000 meteors per hour! RELATED: Total Lunar Eclipse 2022: See All of the Super Flower Blood Moon Photos from Around the World Following the tau Herculids, the next meteor shower set to take place is the Southern Delta Aquariids.
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