It isn’t easy to see a good thing come to an end, but if they don’t, then things remain the same. Things have to change, and it’s a natural progression, especially in Pokémon Go. Right now, players are eagerly attempting to encounter Jessie and James in the rarely seen Meowth Team Rocket balloon to battle the duo. The primary reason many players are looking to see the balloon is because of the Distracted by Something Shiny special research event, which allows them to catch a shiny Celebi. These two will be returning to the shadows in early 2021, but Niantic has given players a bit of time.
Jessie and James are set to retreat from their Meowth balloon at the end of February 2021, so players can expect to stop seeing them appear starting in March 2021. This lines up accurately with the final date that players will receive the Distracted by Something Shiny special research task. You can grab this quest and add it to your profile before February 2021, and you do not have to finish it, but if you don’t have it in your research tasks starting in March, it’ll be gone, and you will not be able to encounter a shiny Celebi.
If you’re having trouble encountering Jessie and James, you may want to try and focus more on the Team Rocket balloon spawn timer. These balloons appear every three hours, so they appear from 12 to 3, 3 to 6, 6 to 9, and 9 to 12 in your time zone. These balloons have a chance to appear as the fabled Meowth balloon, but like many things in Pokémon Go, it’s entirely luck-based. You might see them, and you might not. The more times you jump in within those spawn windows.
We can likely expect another Team Rocket invasion event before the end of February. The event will increase the number of balloons spawning in the game, and Niantic may even bump up the chances of these two appearing, giving everyone in the game a small window a rush to complete the special research task.