Looking at our Michigan skies at night this week could provide some glowing entertainment. It’s called the Alpha Capricornids meteor shower and it shows up yearly here in Michigan in July or August.
It isn’t a very well known meteor shower due to the fact that it doesn’t produce a lot of meteors, but if you decide to stay up to view this, and you see one it can be quite an exciting experience.
The Alpha Capricornids typically only show five to 10 meteors per hour, according to Mike Murray, Delta College Planetarium astronomer. Murray says the amount of meteors expected is not much more than we would see on an average night.
In comparison, the Perseids can show 50 to 100 meteors per hour. “The distinguishable parts of the Alpha Capricornids are the relatively slow movement of the meteors, and their propensity for fireballs,” Murray said.
A fireball is a meteor brighter than venus, these slow meteors can appear like a plane on fire above the horizon. If you happen to see one, it’s something you won’t soon forget.
This meteor shower is expected to peak tonight or Thursday night. Lower Michigan is expecting clear skies both nights.
You may wonder what the term slow fireball actually means. The Alpha Capricornids travel as slow as 54,000 mph, which compared to the Perseid meteor is only about half as fast, as the Perseids literally streak across the sky.
The slower speed will provide an extra few seconds of viewing time. If you are up for the view, before midnight you will see them coming from the southeast, appearing more from the south after midnight.
If you are lucky enough to experience these visually pleasing slow fireballs, you now know what you just saw.
Full article at MLive
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