Science

Watch out for comet SW3, which might cause a meteor shower in late May

Here’s hoping that a meteor shower predicted by astronomers for almost a century will be seen this month, says Abigail Beall



Space



18 May 2022

ESO

SOMETHING exciting is happening at the end of this month. On the evenings of 30 and 31 May, astronomers around the world will be watching the skies to see whether a new meteor shower, which has been predicted for almost 100 years, comes to pass.

In May 1930, a comet called 73P/ Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, also known as SW3, was first spotted by German astronomers. Shortly after its discovery, there were predictions that it would cause a meteor shower if it travelled close enough to Earth.

SW3 is a short period comet that passes the sun every 5.4 years, but it …

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