BOSTON (WHDH) — While fireworks are a common sight over Memorial Day weekend, astronomers say there could be an even more impressive spectacle in the sky next week.
Astronomers say Earth will pass the debris trail of an extinct comet, which could result in an otherworldly light show around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday.
While meteor showers are not uncommon on Earth, Tuesday’s flyby containing the comet’s debris has the potential to be classified as a “meteor storm” due to the mass and abundance of debris, according to NASA.
Hopeful observers should probably not set the alarm just yet. According to NASA, there is no guarantee that Earth will receive the light show as planned.
According to NASA, the event depends on the speed at which the debris enters the atmosphere. When a meteoroid enters at speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour, there is a high chance that an observer will be able to see it burn through the night sky. Currently, some, but not all, are tracking debris to reach that 220 mph threshold.
“This is going to be an all-or-nothing event,” said Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “If the debris had slower ejection speeds then nothing will reach Earth and there will be no meteors from this comet.”
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