Several astronomers are forecasting for a typically minor meteor shower to be unusually active this year. Unlike other meteor showers, the peak (in fact the entirety of this “event”) will not be spread out over several nights but over the course of half an hour!
When & Where to Look:
Thursday, November 21st 11:30- 12:00 AM, looking just above the eastern horizon
The Alpha-Monocerotids are a result of Earth passing through a thin field of debris from a long lost comet. This shower has produced some dazzling displays in the past, the most recent of which occured in 1995. The researchers who are making this prediction believe that conditions are similar this year to that event which produced 400 meteors per hour.
As a result this number has made headlines, but many are still skeptical as the number of observed meteors are typically much lower than forecast. As such, don’t expect those numbers Thursday night. With that being said, I highly recommend heading outside. It’s an investment of an hour on a pleasant, clear night to see a handful of “shooting stars.”
Grab a jacket, a hot beverage, and head outside Thursday, November 21st evening around 11 PM. The peak of this short event will begin closer to 11:30 but you’ll need some time to adjust to the darkness to have the best chance to see these meteors. Take this time outside and off your phone to enjoy a beautiful fall night under mainly clear skies with temperatures in the 40s. Look near the eastern horizon till after midnight when the astronomical event ends.
Hope for a night that you’ll remember but keep an open mind that this display might not be as dazzling as articles have hyped it up to be.
Storm Team 2 Meteorologist David Dickson