An amazing shooting star storm could happen tonight!

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[EN VIDÉO] What is a comet?
Where are they from? How many are they? Their name comes from the Greek komêtês meaning “hairy”. In Japan, they are called “star-brooms”. Too many names refer to their very different faces from the stars shining in the sky. Get to know them in the video!

There are showers onshooting Stars per month, with more or less intensity. The most famous of these is undoubtedly Perseidsactive every summer during the holiday season, they satisfy their many observers at their peak on August 12-13 with nearly a hundred meteoroids per hour on average (with peaks of 120 or 140). Less well known, the Geminids, in December, was also very generous. For those announced on May 31, named tau Herculides (τ-Herculides), usually less active, they could surpass this year all with an hourly rate of 1,000 meteors. Moreover, if the prophecies are fulfilled. Not to mention rain on the shooting starbut in storm shooting star!

How do you explain this sudden storm to shooting stars?

However, it is wise to say it on condition. The predictions were based on two studies firm of researchers whose models agree that by the year 2022, the Earth will meet its orbit in several streams of debris overflowing with Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (ang comet 73P, for short) in its aftermath after the 1995 division. barbarians which enhances the scene.

“Our work suggests that the contrail released during the 1995 pass will meet Earth on May 31, 2022, with a peak centered at 05:01 UT (07:01 Paris time), ie the same as found in previous studies, “ wrote Jérémie Vaubaillon, of IMCCE.

What exactly is a shooting star? The answer is with Franck Menant, of Futura in the Stars. © Futura

This comet returns every 5.4 years (orbital time) has been known since 1930, when its discoverers expected it to be very bright. They were eventually disappointed and later observations suggested that the elongated shape of its nucleus was the result of division. In any case, this is what happened in 1995 under eye wide open to some telescopes. Hubble and Spitzer later observed, in 2006 and 2007, the procession of dust and ice debris.

Animation made from several of Hubble’s observations of Comet 73P. © Nasa

The best time to observe a meteor shower

However, it is better to be prepared, because when explosions happen it is amazing: definitely the most beautiful rain of shooting stars, in the distance, in the year and even at this beginning of the century. ” […] whatever you do, be prepared for surprises !, launched Jérémie Vaubaillon. And a bad surprise (e.g. a very weak ZHR) in any case will teach us about the science of comets, meteors, meteoroids and the celestial mechanics of Solar system. »

The best time to surprise them, according to predictions, is at the end of the night for Western Europe, with possible surprises ahead (this is why we need to remain patient and vigilant). The situation looks more favorable for the American continent (especially Baja California, Mexico), where the night is still deep. Especially since month disappear, thus avoiding interfering with the observation of these small grains that hit high atmosphere terrestrial to small rapidly (about 12 km/s). Instead slow meteors can rain on hundreds of you, and not always easy to identify, because they are weak.

The name Herculides tau comes from the eponymous star of constellation of Hercules near situated bright sa ‘meteor shower when it was discovered in 1930. This year, the brightest find instead of Bouvier, not far from the brightest star of this Arcturus, which has a red light and is easily visible in the extension of the handle of the “Grande Casserole “. Good observation, and as long as the rain of shooting stars is very strong!

Planets around double stars like Tatooine can be inhabited

Article on Xavier Demeersmann published on May 7, 2014

Many specialists believe that the night of May 23 to 24 is likely to be the scene of a spectacular rain of shooting stars. The wreckage that erupted a few decades ago by comet 209P/Linear could be damaging our atmosphere. However, the less optimistic predicts a heavy downpour, aimed at falling 100 to 400 meteors per hour. An unforgettable performance.

The traditional rain of shooting stars scattering alligators on soft nights around August 12 and 13, the work of Perseidsfar from the only meteor event of the year to be forgotten: many swarms liven up our nights every month, just like recently. Lyrids from the end of April or tens of thousands on Leonids (November) and Geminids (December). Of course, it happens that their activity is lower than expected, delayed by a few hours, or even in favor of observers located in another region of the world. The opposite can also happen, to the delight of those who prepare to praise them.

Let us remember that in each case, this is a question at the beginning of comets shedding part of their gasdust and small grains during their seasonal approach Sun. Also the escape and abandonment of debris is uneven and is related to currents of variable density. When it happens that the Earth crosses these hosts, their fall into the atmosphere then challenges access to fever meteoritics that we love to capture. Soon, likely on the night of May 23 to 24, we may experience a remarkable storm of shooting stars. Why such an event, and what to expect.

The first to mention the possibility of a meteorite storm on this date are the international specialists in this matter. From 2012, Esko Lyytinen, Peter Jenniskens (Nasa) and Jeremy Vaubaillon (Institute of Celestial Mechanics) actually realized, after calculations, that the debris currents released by the small comet 209P/Linear between 1803 and 1924 had to penetrate our atmosphere on the night of May 23 to 24. These dust is so small that only the most grain is visible. Also, if they are as many as the researchers predicted, we could witness a real meteorite storm that we haven’t seen in a long time …

Rain or meteor storm?

To solidify their calculations, some experts however restrained their optimism and preferred to mention the maximum activity between 100 and 400 meteors per hour. With less than 1,000 meteors per hour to speak of a storm, the calculated peak is still very large compared to the famous one. Perseids, which can usually surprise us with 100 to 150 meteors per hour, depending on the year. However, everyone warns that the event remains difficult to anticipate, as the roots of the wreckage of this comet were only discovered in 2004 thanks to the program. Linear not very well understood. Small (the size of its nucleus is estimated to be between 0.8 and 1 km) and very difficult to see, its orbital period is only five years. On May 6, the hairy star, adorned with its tail gas and dust, will reach the smallest distance from the Sun, or perihelion, which is 145 million kilometers (or 0.9 AU, a distance roughly equivalent to that which separates us from our star). On May 29, only 8.2 million kilometers, or 0.0554 AU, were from Earth.

If its activity is proven, the crowd should be there for the shine Giraffe (Camelopardalis), a small and dangerous constellation near the northern celestial pole, interspersed between Cassiopeia and Big bear. This circumpolar position is very useful to observersnorthern part of the world and guarantees visibility throughout the night. Moreover, the Moon will not represent any obstacle, because the good moon, of CONNECT with glittering Venusdon’t get up before 4:30 am To optimize meditation, all that’s left is to find a clear and relatively safe place to light pollution invaded our cities, to make yourself comfortable and then to wait and count. Naturally, the suspense will remain until tonight at the Camélopardalides ’highest event. Good look!

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