The tau Herculids meteor shower is set to stain our skies with shooting stars. Fortunately, sky conditions couldn’t be better for Michigan, and that’s a rare occurrence for a sky event. I even look at cloud forecasts across the US.
Usually we encounter either thick clouds or a bright moon here in Michigan. Tonight we have the perfect setting in our skies for a fantastic viewing of the meteor shower.
Here’s the good news for cloud forecasts. We should have clear skies over most of Michigan by watching time at 1 am tonight.
The numbers on the forecast map represent the percentage of the sky that will be covered with clouds. So when you see zero percent, one percent, two percent, you know you don’t have to worry about clouds blocking meteor showers.
There are also large parts of the United States that will have clear skies at 1 a.m. tonight.
Much of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest will have vast stretches of clear sky.
The second part of the good news about sky conditions is true for all of us Americans – there will be a new moon. Remember- a new moon means no moon is lit. In fact, the condition of the moon couldn’t be better, as the absolute date of the new moon would be tonight.
Meteor showers are called tau Herculids. You can read more about the details over here.
Peak time for the meteor shower is still expected to be around 1 a.m. ET tonight. This means that peak time in the western United States will be around 10 PM this evening.
Mike Murray, an astronomer at the Delta College Planetarium, says prime-time forecasts may be off. It is recommended that we start looking for meteors around 10 pm in case the peak arrives early.
There have been quite a few meteors from this meteor already reported around the world in the past few nights.
NASA thinks the meteors will be faint, but they are bright enough to see. They also say some seismic meteors are possible. Polyide meteorite has a fiery tail. NASA appears to be underestimating the likelihood of a meteor storm, which would be 200 or more meteors per hour instead of the expected 60 meteors per hour.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to stay up late and watch the meteor showers. At least we know that the sky will allow us to see it when it happens.