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Up to 200 meteors per hour?  A meteor shower may be a surprise today

Up to 200 meteors per hour? A meteor shower may be a surprise today

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The Andromeda meteor shower is not worth mentioning and is therefore largely unknown. But today it could cause a shooting star.

FRANKFURT – The Geminid meteors in December and the Perseid meteors in August are the most famous and abundant meteor streams of the year. But at the beginning of December, they can be overtaken by a very small, unknown meteor stream, for once. This refers to the Andromeda galaxies, a meteor shower that reaches its fuzzy maximum at the end of November/beginning of December and is therefore largely unknown. It comes from the now broken Comet 3D/Biela.

In 1872 and 1885, there were spectacular meteor shower explosions – there was talk of thousands of meteors visible to the naked eye, and Chinese records from this period mention “stars falling from the sky like rain.” But since the late 19th century, Andromeda’s outburst has had little or no presence, which may be related to the breakup of the parent comet.

Shooting Star Surprise December 2nd: Expect an Andomedian eruption

After small outliers in recent years, it is now possible that the Andromeda galaxies are moving again. At least that’s what a 2013 study suggests In the specialized magazine Astronomical magazine published had become. In this article, the authors simulate which dust clouds from a missing comet Earth will fly through and when and come to the conclusion that a violent Andromedean eruption may be imminent in 2023. Even greater shooting star activity has already been observed in 2011, with the number of meteors reaching 50 meteors per hour (ZHR).

In the study, the team of authors wrote: “Future showers in 2023 and 2036 are four times stronger in our simulation than in 2011. Observers should pay attention to these phenomena.” An outbreak in 2023 is not entirely certain. However, if this happens, it is clear when you should look at the sky and in what direction. The shooting star is expected to erupt on December 2 around 8 p.m.

The Andromedids can produce 200 meteors per hour

Shooting stars, if they can be seen at all, are said to have their starting point (the so-called radiant) near the constellations Cassiopeia and Andromeda. The two constellations can be seen in the sky to the east immediately after sunset. However, it does not stay dark there for long: around 9 p.m., the moon rises in the east, which on December 2 is still a good three-quarters illuminated and therefore bright.

The Perseid meteor can be observed in mid-August.  (icon image)
The Perseid meteor can be observed in mid-August. (Avatar) © IMAGO/Zoonar.com/kavram

If the expected meteor eruption occurs, many meteors should be seen despite the moon’s brightness. But it is not at all clear whether an outbreak will actually happen. One Calculation However, NASA contradicts the 2013 study and does not see any increased Andromedan activity this year. To find out if you can actually see 200 meteors per hour, all you have to do is look at the stars on December 2nd. (unpaid bill)

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