Between the night of May 30 and the early morning of May 31, the sky would be lit-up with a brief, but, intense meteor display, thanks to a comet that split apart in 1995 and is apparently still fragmenting.

According to NASA, a new meteor shower— the Tau Herculids — might erupt, perhaps ranking with the best of the annual meteor displays in a week from now.

This meteor, Tau Herculids, is fragment of the parent comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW3).

Two German astronomers— Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann of Hamburg Observatory—had found this comet in 1930. It orbits the sun every 5.4 years.

But being so faint, SW3 wasn’t seen again until the late 1970s, seeming pretty normal until 1995, when astronomers realised the comet had become about 600 times brighter and went from a faint smudge to being visible with the naked eye during its passage.

Upon further investigation, astronomers realised that SW3 had shattered into several pieces, littering its own orbital trail with debris.

Wednesday, May 25th – Friday, May 27th 2022

The next few mornings if you look East about 1 hour before sunrise you will be able to see the Moon near several planets (Sky & Telescope). Mars, Jupiter and Venus will all be visible (Sky & Telescope). Wednesday morning Jupiter and Mars will be above the waning crescent Moon (Sky & Telescope). As the week goes on, the Moon will get lower in the sky (Sky & Telescope). It will be near Venus Friday morning (Sky & Telescope). The image below shows what to look for.

Friday, May 27th 2022

Tonight the two bright stars Arcturus and Vega will be visible in the night sky (Sky & Telescope). Arcturus is visible very high in the South while Vega is visible if you look East-Northeast (Sky & Telescope).

Sunday, May 29th 2022

Jupiter and Mars are in conjunction early this morning (Sky & Telescope). The two planets are only 0.6 degrees apart (Sky & Telescope). Look to the East-Southeast not too high in the sky to see this (Sky & Telescope). The image below shows what to look for.

Sneak peek…. Monday, May 30th – Tuesday, May 31st 2022

Monday and Tuesday nights the Tau Herculid meteor shower may put on a big show (Sky & Telescope). Joe Rao, a meteor researcher says that any meteor activity would peak around 1 A.M. EDT early Tuesday morning (Sky & Telescope). There is the chance that debris from comet “SW3” will reach Earth this year, hence the reason we may see a meteor shower (NASA). The debris is expected to move very slowly, so any meteors will likely be faint, but the radiant will be high in the sky during peak time (NASA). Additionally, the Moon is in its New phase, so moonlight will not interfere (NASA). According to NASA this will be an “all or nothing event” (NASA).

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