There could be a rare meteor storm this weekend with thousands of shooting stars

A few weeks ago, news began circulating about a possible meteor storm in late May – the first in two decades. Now, researchers are reporting the possibility of another possible, and it’s happening in just two days. The culprit could be the twin asteroid 2006 GY2.

Meteor storms are regular meteor showers on steroids. The best meteor showers can produce 100 sky trails in an hour, but most are in the “under 20” category. During the much more unusual meteor storms, thousands of rocky debris shoot through the atmosphere creating cosmic fireworks.

Conditions for these are rare. Earth must pass through a dense cloud of debris for this to happen – 2006 GY2 being the type of asteroid known as a minor double planet can provide a dense stream of debris – and predict if and when it will happen n’ is not exactly accurate. Meteor showers come from material left behind by comets and some asteroids as they orbit the Sun, traversing Earth’s path through the solar system. Denser clusters often occur with regularity, but they can produce anything from a slight increase at one time, such as the Leonid meteor storm of November 17, 1966, when up to 20 meteors were seen. per second.

The International Meteor Organization reports that 2006 GY2 left behind a flood of debris that could be large enough to produce a meteor storm. The only thing we need is for the Earth to pass through it, and our planet is about to do so on Sunday May 15th. The “minor planet” is made up of a 400-meter-wide (1,310 feet) asteroid orbiting with another 80 meters (260 feet) in diameter.

The time of the closest approach, which means the debris will enter the atmosphere, is expected to be around 10:20 a.m. UT (6:20 a.m. ET) Sunday. This means that the United States and Mexico will have the best view and chance to observe if the meteor storm is actually happening.

But there is a slight problem. The Moon will be almost full – preparing for the total lunar eclipse which will take place on Sunday evening – so the brightness of our natural satellite could hamper observations.

Meteoroids – as meteors are called before entering the atmosphere – are usually tiny, the size of rice, so it’s very difficult to estimate how many there might be waiting to be picked up by the planet. attraction of earth’s gravity.

If 2006’s GY2 meteor storm is a no-show, there’s still hope that the May 30-31 Tau Herculids will be the first meteor storm since the Leonid storms of 2001-2002. But we can only wait and see.

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