Many stargazers will know the Perseids, Taurids, and Orionids among other major meteor showers, but a smaller one will offer a unique spectacle this year.
A renowned NASA researcher stated that an outburst of the Alpha Monocerotids would be visible during the night on November 21 and the early morning hours of November 22. As expected, the visibility will depend on your location.
In most cases, meteor showers will generate several shooting stars ranging between a few and several dozen during peak activity hours. However, there are some exceptional events during which the Earth will pass through a dense pocket of galactic remnants released by comets. When this happens a high number of meteors will be spotted, with more than 1,000 meteors per hour being visible in some cases.
A paper published by a team of researchers from the SETI Institute and NASA argues that the Monocerotids dust trail seems to be quite promising, and a low-intensity outburst could take place. The boost will last for a short while, and prospective stargazers should prepare in advance.
It is estimated that it will last for approximately 40 minutes, while the apex period should be shorter than 15 minutes. Those who live in North America will have a chance to admire the spectacle as it starts between 8:15 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Pacific Time (or 4.30 a.m. UTC) during the evening of 21 November. Visibility will not be great on the West Coast, but some highlights could be spotted on the eastern horizon.
The visibility will increase as we move towards the Atlantic and Europe, where the meteor will appear to be higher in the sky but at a later hour in the evening. It is important to note that meteor bursts are a bit hard to anticipate, but the promise of a remarkable spectacle should attract a large number of stargazers.