A new, and possibly spectacular, meteor shower will be gracing the skies on the night of May 23, 2014 (early morning of May 24, 2014). Predictions are that the shower could reach a peak rate of anywhere between 100-1000 meteors an hour — the most sober assessments seem to be pointing towards 200 an hour when seen from a dark rural location.
The new meteor shower — caused by the debris left behind by Comet 209P/LINEAR — will probably be best seen from continental North America around 2-4am on the 24th. But, these things are hard to predict, so regardless of where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s probably worth it to take a look outside once the skies get dark enough.
The meteors will appear to be originating out of the constellation of Camelopardalis (giraffe), right there next to the Northern Celestial Pole. An easier way to find the radiant point, though, will be to find the North Star (Polaris), it’s right near there.
“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.”
I recommend you take the advice. 🙂
A couple of things to keep in mind, in order to improve your experience:
• Watch from the darkest location that you can, the further away that you are from city lights, the better — dark, rural locations are ideal.
• Try to get comfortable — reclining chairs, blankets, warm clothes, pillows, etc, all help.
• Warm coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, also help 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).
Image Credit: Meteor via Flickr CC