22 May 2014

Possible New Meteor Shower

Meteors are a delight to see in the night sky, appearing without warning and gracing the sky with their shimmer and speed, playful fireworks that quietly captivate those who take the time to watch. Annually there are many meteor showers that we can predict and prepare for, primarily because they are caused by debris in the path of Earth's orbit and are reliably there each time Earth passes through the debris. In most cases "debris" means the small particles of dust no larger than a grain of sand, left in the wake of a comet or asteroid.

Radiant in Camelopardalis
Friday night May 23 through Saturday morning May 24, Earth will travel through such a stream for the first time from a source that we have not encountered before. In this case it's Comet 209P/LINEAR, a fairly unimpressive comet from a visual point of view, but one that has left a debris stream in its wake and could be have initiated a new meteor shower. The peak for this will be Friday night / Saturday morning around 1:00 am pacific time, so find a dark spot with a clear sky, give your eyes time to adapt, and enjoy. You don't need a telescope or binoculars. The 'radiant' point of the shower is in the faint constellation Camelopardalis (see image) but you don't need to face that way - just have a clear sky and a good view overhead, a lawn chair or pad to relax on.

More information on the following sites:

Sky & Telescope

Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope.


Mike B said...

I saw only one meteor in 45 min here in Marin. Threw in the towel about 1am

The Urban Astronomer said...

I watched for a couple hours and enjoyed the view of the Big Dipper and Bootes and Mars, but saw 0 meteors. That was in the city. I heard reports from other parts of the USA of a few here and there, but not a substantial amount as would be expected in a real meteor shower.

Glad you tried, Mike. Next time!