Meteor shower Thursday night could be epic, or it could be a bust

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A meteor shower occurring late Thursday night into early Friday morning has the potential to be one for the ages, or it could be a complete bust with only a few meteors. This is a unique meteor shower event called alpha-Monocerotid.

In order to view this event Thursday night, you will want to look just above the horizon off to the east-southeast. It will originate from the Monoceros constellation, which is just southwest in the night sky from Orion. Orion is currently in the southeast sky above the horizon. The meteor shower will begin at 11:50 p.m. and last for only 30 minutes!

What makes this event potentially epic is that up to 400 meteors could be seen within 30 minutes! This comes with a caveat, however, as scientists aren’t exactly sure how many meteors this event will produce. Much of this uncertainty comes from needing peak viewing conditions.

Previous events have produced a couple of hundred meteors, which is part of where scientists are basing their predictions of up to 400 meteors.

To get the best out of this display, you will want to be set up by 11:15 p.m. in your favorite viewing location that should have as little light pollution as possible (which is tough to do in the Triangle).

Scientists suggest the 11:15 p.m. set up time to allow your eyes to adjust to the night sky for best viewing. This means once you arrive at your location, you should avoid looking at your cell phone.

Skies will also need to be clear to allow for maximum viewing, and this may be the biggest problem for Central North Carolina as clouds will be increasing late Thursday into Friday ahead of our next weather system.

Still, for a 30-minute window that could produce a potentially epic light show, it may be worth staying up late and camping out to see, especially since you only need to do so for an hour or less!

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