Back in 1995 comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW3) fractured into several large pieces and left a trail of smaller fragments behind. It turns out that the special conditions needed for these particles to produce a shower may have come to fruition. If that is true, and there is a lot of uncertainty, then we may be gifted with an amazing event. For the specific details of this potential major shower, see the article in Sky&Telescope.
If you want to stay up and see what happens, here are the details.
The meteors will appear to come from a point, called the radiant, very near the brilliant orange star Arcturus with the peak occurring at 1:00AM EDT on the 31st. This point will be in the W-SW, about 50 degrees above the horizon. The altitude is high, there is no moon, and right now the weather folks are forecasting clear skies with cool temperatures - the three top ingredients for any meteor shower observer!
|S&T Diagram / Gregg Dinderman|
But don't be late, or too early. This shower, if it occurs, will only last a few hours at best. I would suggest starting at midnight.
How good could it be? Good question - hard to answer. If all goes well we may be in for up to 600 bright meteors per hour! Or, maybe nothing at all. We'll see.