This Friday morning, around 5:50 am, do not forget to look up to the sky. A shower of exceptional shooting stars is expected!
Alpha Monocerotides, you know? It is thought that this swarm, discovered in 1925, could come from comet 1943 W1 (but nothing sure). Unlike other well-known ones, like the Perseids, this one has the particularity of being observable three years in a row, before disappearing for about seven years (and so on). In general, this swarm is quite poor, but this year should be an exception.
This Friday, November 22, several hundred meteors per hour are indeed announced (maybe even more than a thousand). To appreciate them, it will be necessary to get up very early, around 5 h 50 (metropolis time). The peak activity, it should last about 15 minutes. Then privilege the southwest of the celestial vault, between the constellations of the Little Dog and the Unicorn, just under the star Procyon.
Note that this will not be the last shower of shooting stars for this year. The Geminids swarm, one of the largest, will be particularly active between December 13 and 14 with nearly a hundred meteors per hour. To observe them, direct your eyes to the constellation Gemini, above the eastern horizon.
As always, you will start next year with the Quadrantids, active until January 12th. To observe them, favor the east side of the celestial vault, around 6:00 am, between the constellations of the Dragon and the Boreal Crown.
With a little luck, you could see up to 120 meteors per hour. The latter also have the good habit of leaving behind trails capable of persisting for several seconds.
Of course, shooting stars are not really “stars”. It is actually grains of dust – remains of comets – that enter the upper atmosphere of the Earth at several tens of km / s. By rubbing in the air, the electrons of these grains are found torn from their atoms (ionization). It is these processes that are responsible for the small, bright, ephemeral streaks observed in the night sky.
These events are usually very regular insofar as our planet, on its trajectory around the Sun, systematically crosses the same swarms of dust left by the comets.