Meteor shower could produce several shooting stars a minute Thursday night

Researchers suggest outburst of shooting stars may occur Thursday night.

Meteor shower expected to peak next week (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Thursday night, we’ll have an opportunity to see a quick burst of shooting stars in the night sky. This is due to what’s called the Alpha Monocerotids.

This burst, however, only lasts a half hour to an hour, starting around 11:50 p.m.

Peter Jenniskens is a senior research scientist with the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center.

He has kept a close eye on these types of outbursts and published a paper on them in the mid-1990s, along with Esko Lyytinen of the Finnish Fireball Network.

Jenniskens and Lyytinen said that current circumstances are very similar to that of an outburst that happened in 1995.

An estimated rate of 400 meteors per hour could peak on Thursday night, but you’ll want to get out a half-hour before peak time (about 11 or 11:15 p.m.).

Allow your eyes time to adjust and time to find the radiant point. This point will likely be low in the eastern sky, so you may also want to find an elevated spot to watch from.


One bit of good news for us is that the moon doesn’t rise until 2:19 a.m., which is after peak.

We’ll be sandwiched in between high pressure (clear sky) and a front to our north (clouds). Fingers crossed we can stay clear long enough for this brief outburst of shooting stars!

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.