RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If everything lines up perfectly, a meteor shower outburst will dazzle across the night sky late Thursday evening in Virginia.
Two well-renowned meteor scientists are predicting an outburst of the Alpha Monocerotid meteor shower.
If the outburst happens as predicted, it would produce meteor rates of up to 400 meteors per hour (maybe even more than that in a best-case scenario!).
Unlike most meteor showers which last for several hours or sometimes days, this meteor shower will be incredibly short lived, only lasting 15 to 40 minutes.
The time to watch for this meteor shower will be Thursday evening from 11:50 p.m. until just after midnight.
The radiant of the meteor shower (the location in the sky where the meteors radiate from and can be seen) will be just above the east-southeastern horizon.
The Alpha Monocerotids are not a well-known meteor shower because in a typical year, the shower produces few to no meteors.
However, in outburst years (this has happened most recently in 1995 and 1985) the shower is known to be a spectacular show with rates of 400 to 700 meteors per hour. In fact, there were outbursts from this meteor shower in 1925 and 1935 which produced more than 1,000 meteors per hour. That equates to 1 meteor every few seconds.
Some clouds will be possible Thursday evening.
Euro model forecast still show clouds, but some breaks will be possible.
The best way to view the meteor shower will be to get away from city lights in a darker rural location.
Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.