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Stargazers prepare for rare meteor storm Thursday night

Posted: 1:39 PM, Nov 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-21 17:09:48-05

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THURSDAY NIGHT:
Stargazers are getting ready for a rare meteor storm Thursday night after two scientists released their latest predictions.

Researchers Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens predicted the storm could produce anywhere between 400 to 1,000 meteors in the night sky.

Meteor Storm Map
(Source: NASA)

If their predictions are correct–– people across the east coast of the United States will have one of the best seats in the house.

Data shows the peak of the storm will be around 11:50 p.m. but meteors could been seen as early as 11:15 p.m.

People in Southwest Florida are in luck because skies will be mostly clear with temperatures in the 60s–– just make sure you’re looking to the east-southeast.

HISTORY BEHIND THE METEOR STREAM:
Lyytinen and Jenniskens believe the meteors could enter Earth’s atmosphere as the planet passes through the Alpha Monocerotids Meteor Stream.

Some believe the meteor stream is left behind from an unidentified comet that completes a full rotation around the Sun once every 500 years or so.

Both researchers said the meteor stream could be responsible for outbursts in 1925, 1935, 1985 and 1995.

One expert at NASA said he’s skeptical there even will be a meteor shower or that all the previous outbursts were caused the Alpha Monocerotids Meteor Stream. However, he did note this would be a momentous occasion if Lyytinen and Jenniskens were correct.

"IF this is right, then we should pass very close to the center of the meteor stream this year, missing it by a scant 15,000 miles. That’s just a tad closer than we got back in 1995, when the observed zenithal hourly rate was about 400 per hour,” said NASA Meteoroid Environment Expert Bill Cooke.