Cloud forecasts show where the sky will be perfect for a meteor shower or possible meteor storm


The tau Herculids meteor shower is ready to splash our skies with shooting stars. Fortunately, the sky conditions couldn’t be better for Michigan, and that’s rare for an air event. I even watch cloud forecasts across the United States.

Normally we face thick clouds or a bright full moon here in Michigan. Tonight we have the perfect setup in our skies to get an unobstructed view of a meteor shower.

Here’s the good news about cloud forecasting. We should have clear skies over most of Michigan by 1 a.m. tonight.

Cloud cover forecast at 01:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The numbers on the forecast map represent the percentage of the sky that will be covered with clouds. So when you see zero percent, one percent, two percent, you know you don’t have to worry about clouds blocking the possible meteor shower.

There are also large parts of the United States that will have clear skies at 1 a.m. tonight.

tau herculids

Cloud cover forecast at 01:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Much of the northeast, mid-Atlantic, southeast and southwest will have large areas of clear skies.

The second part of the good news about sky conditions rings true for all of us Americans – there will be a new moon. Remember that a new moon means there is no very bright moon. In fact, the condition of the moon couldn’t be better, with the absolute date for a new moon being tonight.

The meteor shower is called the Herculid tau. You can read more about the details here.

The peak time for the meteor shower is still expected to be around 1 a.m. Eastern Time tonight. This means that rush hour in the western United States will be around 10 p.m. tonight.

Mike Murray, an astronomer at the Delta College Planetarium, says the rush hour forecast could be wrong. He advises starting to look for meteors around 10 p.m. in case the peak arrives early.

There have been a few meteors from this meteor shower already reported around the world in recent nights.

NASA thinks the meteors will be faint, but bright enough to see. They also say that a few bolid meteors are possible. A bolide meteor has a fiery tail. NASA also appears to be downplaying the possibility of a meteor storm, which would be 200 or more meteors per hour rather than the expected 60 meteors per hour.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to stay up late and watch for the meteor shower. At least we know heaven will allow us to see it when it happens.


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