I can guarantee one thing

So, it appears there could be a surprise meteor shower on the morning of the 31st. Well, not exactly a surprise, but one that isn’t recognized as a significant shower and hasn’t been a performer in the past.

Universe Today has all the details, but in short, a comet known as Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (73P to its friends) was observed in 1995 to have broken up into numerous fragments, leaving multiple debris streams in the form of its tails. And on next Monday night/Tuesday morning, we’re going to be passing straight through the bulk of these debris streams, which is what makes meteors in the first place. Peak time is about 1 AM EDT, and the moon will be on the other side of the planet – what you want from a meteor shower, though it rarely happens.

The thing is, no one really knows how much debris is in those streams, because we have no baseline to go from with this storm/comet. It could be virtually unnoticeable, or it could produce over 1,000 meteors per hour. Because of the orbital mechanics, the prediction is that any meteors will be slower than normal, perhaps taking a few seconds to trace their path, which would make them slightly easier to notice if, for instance, you first spot them out of the corner of your eye (which, I can tell you, happens a lot.)

So, will it be a waste of time to be out there looking and/or photographing? No one can say. But as the title says, I can guarantee that you won’t see a damn thing if you don’t try.

Good luck!

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