Meteor shower is possible next week

May 17, 2006

Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 will be visible this week and next through telescopes or on the Internet and might produce a meteor shower Monday night.

The comet won't be particularly bright but it is producing abundant debris as it breaks apart. "To see a comet self-destruct is always fun,'' Andrew Fraknoi, chairman of the astronomy program at Foothill College, told The San Jose Mercury (Calif.) News.

Comets, consisting of ice and dirt, vaporize when they approach the sun and that material burns when it enters the Earth's atmosphere, producing meteors.

Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, discovered in 1930 by two German astronomers, is coming closer to Earth than any comet during the past two decades, the newspaper said.

But, despite some reports to the contrary, astronomers say the comet will not hit the Earth.

Steve Maran, a retired NASA astronomer and author of "Astronomy for Dummies," says the comet is more than 6 million miles away -- about 24 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: What's the brightest star in the sky, past and future?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A recipe for returning Pluto to full planethood

Feb 20, 2015

A storm is brewing, a battle of words and a war of the worlds. The Earth is not at risk. It is mostly a civil dispute, but it has the potential to influence the path of careers. In 2014, a Harvard led debate ...

What makes the solar system interesting to astronomers?

Feb 17, 2015

While most of us are stuck on planet Earth, we're lucky enough to have a fairly transparent atmosphere. This allows us to look up at the sky and observe changes. The ancients noticed planets wandering across ...

Interesting facts about the planets

Feb 17, 2015

While the universe is a big place to study, we shouldn't forget our own backyard. With eight planets and a wealth of smaller worlds to look at, there's more than enough to learn for a few lifetimes!

Recommended for you

Could the Milky Way become a quasar?

Feb 27, 2015

A quasar is what you get when a supermassive black hole is actively feeding on material at the core of a galaxy. The region around the black hole gets really hot and blasts out radiation that we can see billions ...

Galactic dinosaurs not extinct

Feb 27, 2015

One of the biggest mysteries in galaxy evolution is the fate of the compact massive galaxies that roamed the early Universe.

Stars found forming at Milky Way's outer edge

Feb 27, 2015

Brazilian astronomers said Friday they had found two star clusters forming in a remote part of our Milky Way galaxy where such a thing was previously thought impossible.

New insight found in black hole collisions

Feb 26, 2015

New research by an astrophysicist at The University of Texas at Dallas provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.