Meteor shower forecast across US leaves stargazers disappointed

The Tau Herculid meteor shower that took place last night left stargazers across the US disappointed.

Astronomers predicted the shower on the night of May 30 would be an “all or nothing” event.

The shower was caused by Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, or SW3, and had the potential to light up the sky with 1,000 shooting stars.

However, it seemed that many were let down by this phenomenon.

meteor shower
A stock photo shows a shooting star in the sky. Some people in the US have only seen a few.
Eshma/Getty Images

Stargazers took to social media to share their experience of Tau Herculid, with many calling it a “bust.”

a twitter user, Michelle RopoleShe wrote: “This meteor shower sucks. I’ve been outside from 10:30pm to 1:11am now (Southwestern Ontario) and have seen a total of 3 shooting stars.”

Other, McfuziusShe wrote: “Worst meteor shower ever…lol.”

“Sorry the meteor shower was a flop… here are some baby meteors I got,” Naomi tweeted, posting photos of some shooting stars.

Stargazers shared their experience of the meteor shower on social media

“Me and my family went outside to see the meteor shower and we don’t see any,” said Maniacal’s laughter.

However, a select few social media users disagreed that it was a dud, and some posted photos of shooting stars streaking across the sky.

Back Bay Amateur Astronomers said on Twitter: “We have seen over 30 meteors so far. This meteor shower is not a dud.”

“Caught a meteor in the lower right. Perfect viewing conditions. I thought a storm but saw at least 10 strong ones. Get out everyone!” said Zoey Win.

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through the fragmented debris of a comet or asteroid. Usually, meteor showers occur as the Earth moves through the cloud of gas released by the comet as it approaches the Sun.

The visibility of the Tau Herculid meteor shower depended largely on the speed of the comet’s debris.

According to NASA, the comet’s debris was predicted to travel at only 10 miles per second — a slow speed compared to other meteors. The shower would have been visible across North America and Canada in areas with clear skies and low light pollution.

This meteor shower was a little different than others, leaving stargazers excited to see what it would bring.

Because in the 1970s, astronomers lost sight of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, or SW3. It reappeared in 1995 and it was discovered that the comet had fragmented further since it was last observed, making it about 600 times brighter.

The comet previously passed Earth in 2006 and was in 70 parts. Since then it has continued to fall apart. Meteor shower forecast across US leaves stargazers disappointed

Rick Schindler

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