If you like meteor showers at all, then make sure to make a note on your calendar for the night of May 23, 2014 — when a potentially historical-scale meteor shower may be gracing the skies of the Northern Hemisphere.
In just over a week, the Earth will travel through debris left behind by Comet 209P/LINEAR, triggering a meteor shower, or, possibly, a meteor storm — according to some predictions.
While some predictions are estimating that peak rates may be as high as 1,000 shooting stars an hour (as seen from a dark rural location), the reality is that we’ll just have to wait and see. Meteor showers are notoriously hard to predict to any degree of exactitude, and this shower is really quite, quite new — further compounding that reality. So… as stated before, we’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂
To those who can’t make the time on the May 23, don’t worry, May 24 is expected to be a good show as well. The best time to watch (for both days ) will probably be sometime right around midnight. The radiant point will be right near the star Polaris (the North Star) — at the end of the constellation of the Little Dipper. The US and Southern Canada probably have the best seats, but it should be visible elsewhere in the north as well.
“This potential new shower is so new that astronomers aren’t sure what to expect,” noted Jane Jones, in a video released by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on the subject. “Predictions run from less than 100 meteors per hour up to an unlikely but possible meteor storm as high as 1,000 per hour.”
“Set your alarm clock for midnight on May 23 and 24, and keep your eyes peeled for slow-moving but bright meteors — both nights if you can.”
Good advice. 🙂
As always, a couple of things to keep in mind to improve the experience:
• Try to watch from the darkest location that you can find, the further away that you can get from city lights, the better — dark, remote, rural locations are ideal.
• Remember to try and get comfortable — comfortable reclining chairs, blankets, warm clothes, pillows, etc, all help to improve the experience.
• Warm coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, also tend to make the experience more enjoyable as well.
To keep tabs on the other celestial events of the year you can download this annual calendar of celestial events! (It’s a free PDF).