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Meteor shower from broken comet could be visible in Las Vegas

Peak viewing would be 10 p.m. Monday
Meteor Shower
Posted at 2:30 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 17:30:58-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV)  — There's a hit-or-miss chance for an impressive meteor shower that would be visible over Las Vegas on Monday night.

Forecasters at NASA are tracking the break-up of a comet called 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3, or SW3. As Earth passes through fragments of the broken comet, there is potential for a vivid meteor shower. However, it's not a sure thing.

The good news for stargazers, though, is that if we can see shooting stars, there should be a lot of them.

There's a reason for all the uncertainty around Monday night's potential meteor shower. As Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office explained, if debris from SW3 were traveling more than 220 mph when it separated from the comet, we could see a significant meteor shower. If the debris had slower ejection speeds, though, then nothing will make it to Earth.

If shooting stars are to be seen, peak viewing in Las Vegas should come at approximately 10 p.m. The potential viewing window extends from approximately 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The SW3 comet actually broke apart in 1995, and Earth is now on track to pass through the debris left behind. Read more on the science behind tonight's potential meteor shower viewing here.