Tau Herculid Meteor Shower Could Dazzle Puget Sound Monday Night

SEATTLE — A brief and unusual meteor shower may be visible over Puget Sound Monday evening, when the remnants of a shattered comet could enter the Earth’s atmosphere. This particular meteor shower, the Tau Herculids, is different and more unpredictable than most, and there is a chance the debris could miss earth entirely.

If it stays on course, however, AccuWeather says to expect a rare and dazzling celestial show, which may outshine all other meteor showers this year. In the best-case scenario, AccuWeather says, Monday’s shooting stars could rival a Leonids storm in the 1960s, which produced up to 40 meteors per second.

“On Monday night into Tuesday morning, the Earth may cross paths with the remnants of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann (SW3), a defunct comet that broke apart in 1995,” AccuWeather wrote Thursday. “After SW3 splintered into countless pieces nearly three decades ago, debris from the breakup could intersect the Earth at the end of Memorial Day weekend. If this comes to fruition, it could spark a brief but intense meteor shower over North America.”

According to the American Meteor Society, the viewing window will be especially short, beginning around 9:45 p.m. and lasting about 30 minutes.

“Start your viewing session at least an hour prior to the time of the expected outburst, just in case the predictions are off,” the AWS said. “This will also allow your eyes to be fully adjusted to the dark surroundings.”

As usual for the Pacific Northwest, particularly this season, the weather will be the other major variable for those hoping to catch a glimpse over Western Washington. Although the weekend rain will have passed by Monday, the current forecast shows clouds lingering into Monday evening before clearing out Tuesday.

However, the National Weather Service shared some good news Friday, estimating cloud cover at 40 percent or lower for the greater Seattle area during the viewing period.

(NWS Seattle)

For more updates on the evolving forecast, keep tabs on NWS Seattle’s social media feeds.

Source: Bellevue Patch