Tau-Herculids: See photos of the long-awaited meteor storm

The Tau-Herculides meteor shower brought fragments of space rock into our atmosphere as they shone in the night sky this Tuesday morning (31). The wreckage of Comet 73P / Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (or just “SW 3”, if you prefer), the meteorites of the phenomenon were best observed in the northern hemisphere sky, but also appeared to observers in the southern hemisphere, among others. Brazil!

After the estimates indicated the possibility of a real “storm” of meteors, with a maximum potential of 100,000 per hour, the expectation of the phenomenon was high. “Somehow, the predictions were confirmed: the calculation was obtained from the readings of scientific articles published by a few astronomers who studied these Tau-Herculid meteoroids,” said Prof. Dr. Rodolfo Langhi, Lionel José Andriatto, Coordinator of the Astronomical Observatory of Astronomy, Universidade Estadual Paulista.

SW 3 comet, “father” of Tau-Herculides rain (Image: Reproduction / NASA)

Eventually, the rain provided a number of meteors that some observers — but not astronomers — could despair of. “Meteor rates for this Tau-Herculides rainfall, recorded by meteorite patrol stations on the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network. [BRAMON] they were very high, although many records were not made because of the cloud-covered sky or because it was raining, ”he explained. Canaltech. To date, previous estimates by network experts indicate an average rate of more than 3,000 meteors per hour, averaging a few moments of the phenomenon.

It should be remembered that the difference between the number of meteors observed and predicted is part of the construction of knowledge about the phenomenon and its causes, and does not necessarily mean that there have been any errors in the calculations. “When scientists are not fully aware of a natural phenomenon, or when data is still lacking for a more complete understanding of something, it is very difficult for scientists to reach a consensus to make statements with certainty,” the professor said.

For now, there is not much specific data or information about meteorites released from the comet, but that may change with new observations. “So the importance of doing more observation of these meteors is to collect data, such as: speed, direction, direction, coordinates, colors, magnitude. [brilho]”The more data we collect about these meteors, the more accurate calculations we can have about them, allowing us to make accurate predictions.”

Where does the Tau-Herculides meteor shower come from?

In its orbit around the Sun, the Earth ends up passing through large clouds of debris and dust, left by comets and asteroids in space. This debris travels very fast through the Earth’s atmosphere, incinerated by friction with the air, and there is no reason to worry about impacts, as meteor showers are usually formed by smaller parts than grains of sand.

Perseid rain meteors (Image: Reproduction / Pierre Martin)

On the other hand, Tau-Herculides is a shower consisting of parts of comet SW 3, first seen in 1930. It takes 5.4 years to orbit the Sun, but during its journey around our stars, the comet split into several parts – in 2006, astronomers discovered that it had shattered into almost 70 parts!

The bad news is that the bright shower (the direction that meteors appear when viewed from Earth) was lower on the southern hemisphere horizon, but that didn’t make it impossible to observe the event here. “All records of Tau-Herculides meteors detected by cameras at BRAMON station will now be examined by experts, and calculations will be made carefully. There is no doubt that these records will lead to new understandings of this unknown rain, ”said Prof. Langhi.

Best photos of Tau-Herculides meteors

Leave a Comment