Thursday meteor shower could produce 400 shooting stars an hour

Rare meteor shower on tap for late Thursday night

This week's upcoming meteor shower could prove to be a rare and spectacular event; the upcoming alpha Monocertoids could turn into a meteor storm the night of November 21.

Scientists say the meteor shower comes from the dust trail of an unknown comet and this particular stream of meteoroids only intersects Earth's orbit occasionally, which is what makes this potential outburst so rare.

You can download a GPS-synced skymap on your phone to easily locate the Monoceros constellation to see the source of the meteors, although they will likely fill up a large portion of the night sky. The brightness of the moon isn't expected to interfere since it will be waning. The rare meteor burst known as the alpha Monocerotids is set to potentially give a flashier than usual show like one that was seen 24 years ago.


Why it's no big deal: It'll be dark over North America for the projected peak, sometime between 8:15 and 9:25 p.m. PT Thursday.

During the 1995 outburst, the hourly rate of meteors was around 400. In 1995, an outburst of shooting stars led to a magnificent show - but year to year, it's never clear how many meteors will be visible. Here's what you need to know about the looming light show.

The astronomers recommend that people begin observing the sky an hour before the predicted time, in case the shower begins early. You may wait for several minutes and see nothing, then see several shooting across the sky at once.

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