Meteor Shower Forecast Across U.S. Leaves Stargazers Disappointed

The Tau Herculid meteor shower, which took place last night, left stargazers across the U.S. disappointed.

Astronomers predicted that the shower on the night of May 30 would be an "all or nothing event."

The shower was caused by the comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann or SW3 and had the potential to light the sky with 1,000 shooting stars.

However, it appeared many were left let down by the phenomenon.

Meteor shower
A stock photo shows a shooting star across the sky. Some people across the U.S. only saw a couple. Eshma/Getty Images

Stargazers took to social media to share their experience of Tau Herculid, with many describing it as a "bust."

One Twitter user, Michelle Roppel, wrote: "This meteor shower sucks. I've been outside (Southwestern Ontario) since 10:30 pm until now 1:11 am and have seen a total of 3 shooting stars."

Another, Mcfucius, wrote: "Worst meteor shower ever...lol."

"Sad that the meteor shower was a bust...here's a few baby meteors I managed to get," Naomi tweeted, posting photographs of a few shooting stars.

Stargazers shared their experience of the meteor shower on social media

"Me and my family went outside to see the meteor shower and we aren't seeing any," Maniacal laughter said.

However, a select few social media users disagreed that it was a dud, with some posting photographs of shooting stars streaking across the sky.

Back Bay Amateur Astronomers said on Twitter: "We've seen over 30 meteors so far. This meteor shower is not a dud."

"Caught a meteor in the bottom right. Perfect viewing conditions. Idk about a storm but saw at least 10 strong ones. go outside yall!" Zoey Win said.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the fragmented debris of a comet or asteroid. Usually, meteor showers happen when the Earth moves through the cloud of gas that is released from the comet as it passes near to the sun.

The visibility of the Tau Herculid meteor shower largely depended on the speed of the comet's debris.

According to NASA, the comet's debris was predicted to only be traveling at 10 miles per second—a slow speed when compared to other meteors. The shower would have been visible across North America and Canada, in areas with clear skies and low light pollution.

This meteor shower was slightly different to others, leaving stargazers excited for what it would bring.

This is because in the 1970s, astronomers lost sight of the 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann or SW3 comet. It then reappeared in 1995, and it was discovered that the comet had continued to shatter since it was last seen, causing it to shine about 600 times brighter.

The comet has passed Earth previously in 2006, and was in 70 pieces. Since then, it has continued to break apart.