Witness rare Unicorn meteor shower tomorrow morning
Stargazers take note. Tomorrow morning, Friday, November 22, you could be in for a treat as it may be possible to catch a glimpse of a rare meteor shower which was last seen in 1995, almost 25 years ago!
Alpha Monocerotids meteor shower
The Alpha Monocerotids meteor shower was last seen in 1995, and before that in 1985, 1935 and 1925. Whilst other meteor showers like the Perseids put on a good show each year, the Alpha Monocerotids has only occurred four times and its meteor outbursts are short-lived. The shower emanates from the constellation of Monoceros, the Unicorn.
This year, astronomers think we could be in for a treat, with some predicting 400 to as many as 1.000 shooting stars - which would make the event a meteor storm. Buienradar weatherman William Huizinga, however, forecasts about 45 to 225 shooting stars per hour between 5am and 7am on November 22. A NASA meteor shower expert also warns that the shower may not be as spectacular as predicted.
Catch a glimpse of the meteor shower
Whether or not it will be as spectacular as predicted remains to be seen, but if you want to watch it, you’ll have to be up early, as it is expected to happen around 5.48am. You’ll need to look in a south-westerly direction at a 36-degree angle. If you haven’t seen anything by 7.30am, head back inside.
One factor that could mess up your chances of seeing the shower is cloud coverage. Cloud coverage is forecast for Friday morning and this could mean that we simply won’t be able to see the shooting stars. However, particularly at this time of year, the forecast can change in an instant, so there is still hope that the sky may be clear.
In the north and in Zeeland, breaks in the clouds are predicted, meaning that you’ll be able to see the sky through a sort of keyhole. This makes shooting star viewing harder, but not impossible.
Wrap up warm
If you decide to venture outside to see the meteor shower, make sure you wrap up warm! It’s very chilly at night now and with a clear sky, it’s even colder. So put on plenty of layers and maybe bring a blanket to keep you warm - you’ll be sitting still for a while, after all.
Another tip is to look for a viewing spot where there is little to no unnatural light - think parks, open spaces or streets without street lamps. Viewing is best in these dark spots.