Xinhua News Agency, Tianjin, May 29 (Reporter Zhou Runjian) Friends who like meteor showers should pay attention. On May 31, an "unpopular" and "mysterious" meteor shower-Tau Hercules meteor shower is extremely large and may usher in a super Big outbreak.

  The parent body of the Tau Hercules meteor shower is Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, SW3 for short).

Discovered in 1930, the comet is a short period comet with a period of 5.36 years.

Unlike other short-period comets that have been discovered, this comet was "lost" shortly after its discovery, and was not observed again until its return in 1979.

What happened to the comet in the past 40 years is still an unsolved mystery.

  According to Xiu Lipeng, a member of the Chinese Astronomical Society and director of the Tianjin Astronomical Society, when it returned in 1995, Comet SW3 brightened more than 400 times and began to split into five parts.

By the time it returned in 2006, astronomers observed that it had broken into at least 65 pieces.

  The "gift" of Comet SW3 to mankind is the τ Hercules meteor shower. The radiant point of this meteor shower is located between the constellation Hercules and the constellation Shepherd, and the date of appearance is generally from the end of May to the beginning of June, but so far, the meteor shower has not been observed. A burst of traffic.

  But this year may be different this time, and some astronomers predict that there may be a big explosion.

Scientific models show that at 13:00 on May 31, the earth will pass through the dust clumps ejected by Comet SW3 when it once returned, or there will be a "meteor shower" with a flow of thousands of meteors per hour.

However, the maximum time of the meteor shower can be predicted, but the flow rate is "elusive". The International Meteor Organization is very cautious about the forecast of this meteor shower. The ZHR value (under ideal observation conditions, when the radiant is directly overhead, can be number of meteors seen) is currently listed as "unknown".

  "The τ Hercules tau meteor shower is not affected by moonlight during this extreme period, and the observation conditions are very good. If the prediction is accurate, it is more suitable for viewing in the Western Hemisphere. If the interested public in my country wants to observe, they can observe it one day in advance or one day later. The radiant point of the meteor shower is visible all night. Although the number of meteors is not as great as when it is extremely large, it is expected to be around a hundred per hour, or even more. Of course, the premise of this number is that the prediction is accurate. If the prediction is wrong, it may also be' No grains are harvested'. However, it is still recommended that the public with conditions try to observe it. After all, the last 'meteor shower' was the Leonid meteor shower in 2001. Whether this meteor shower will finally bring a huge surprise, let us wait and see. " Xiu Li Peng said.