"Meteor Storm" Could Bring 1,000 Meteors Over Quebec Skies Late Tonight
Make sure to look up!
- Meteor News has informed the public that an outburst of meteors may be lighting up the sky in the early morning of November 22, so we might just get to witness a "meteor storm" in the next 24 hours.
- This cool occurrence is only said to be visible for about an hour, so you don't wanna miss it.
- Find out when you'll (possibly) be able to spot them from Quebec below!
The website Meteor News and two researchers, Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens, are forecasting that we could be in for a "short-lived outburst" of meteor activity late tonight in what some are calling a "meteor storm." While the extent of this celestial show is up for debate, there will be a comet passing by earth late on November 21, 2019, and into the early hours of November 22, 2019, which should produce at least a few meteors.
What the hope is, though, is that this comet brings about the kind of "meteor storm" or outburst of meteor activity that was seen in 1925, 1935, 1985 and 1995, according to Meteor News.
If the meteor storm is as epic as expected by Lyytinen and Jenniskens, we could have the potential to see something like 1000 meteors in the span of an hour over Montreal tonight.
However, much like the weather, it is possible that these predictions won't be lived out... Although we should still see some meteors, either way, it might actually be closer to 100 an hour, instead.
Plus, we also have to factor in the possibility of cloud coverage (though it's a pretty clear sky in Montreal today) and inevitable light pollution from the city that could hinder the sight of stars or the burning debris of a passing comet.
Bill Cooke from the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office is not so convinced the comet tonight will produce this much-anticipated meteor storm, but drafted this map nonetheless, based on the outburst in 1995.
With the map, Cooke explains that this map shows the "total number of meteors" that observers in North America can expect to see during "this year's alpha Monocerotid meteor shower, provided the rates are similar to the 1995 outburst."
As you can see, Quebec is in a pretty good spot to see a great show, if one decides to happen.
Jenniskens and Lyytinen indicate that the "zenith hourly rates" could be as high as 400 to 1000 meteors per hour around 11:50 p.m. EST (Ontario and Quebec), 10:50 p.m. CST (Manitoba and Saskatchewan), 12:50 a.m. AST (Maritime provinces excluding Newfoundland), and 1:20 a.m. in Newfoundland.
The forecast for Montreal tonight does say rain, according to Environment Canada, which would mean clouds getting in the way of seeing anything, but luckily the rain isn't supposed to start until midnight.
There's also the possibility of a great show of the Aurora Borealis tonight, as well. So no matter what gets you outside tonight, don't forget to look up at the sky once or twice... Who knows what you'll see.
So while there's no certainty, as with most things in life, whether we're going to get a spectacular show or a spectacular let down - the great news is that science is there to fill in the gaps.
If you're interested in watching the meteor shower and seeing if it does become a meteor storm, but you don't want to venture out of your cozy apartment at midnight tonight, you can always watch the show online.
Websites like Virtual Telescope will be hosting a live stream of the event, so all you need is a laptop and some wifi and you're set.
Happy stargazing, Montreal!