The Camelopardalid Meteor Shower is forecasted to show 200 to 1,000 meteors an hour between 2am and 4am EST Saturday morning! No one has seen this meteor shower before! “We have no idea what the comet was doing in the 1800s. The parent comet (comet 209P/LINEAR) doesn’t appear to be very active now, so there could be a great show, or there could be little activity,” said Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
“New meteor showers don't come along that often. It'll be the first time in a generation that a new meteor shower will show up,” according to CNN Meteorologist Sean Morris.
The comet 209P/LINEAR is a Jupiter family comet discovered in 2004. Earth will travel through debris ejected from the comet 209P/LINEAR in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries! If the comet was actively producing a lot of dust during that time, the Earth may be treated to a potentially incredible meteor shower.
North America will have the most visibility of the shower, and the best places for viewing in the U.S. will be east of the Mississippi River or in California, as rain in Pacific Northwest and Plains will affect viewing.
|Milky Way against silhouetted Owachomo Bridge at Natural Bridges National Park, Utah|
We are excited about viewing the sky tonight in hopes for a meteor shower that could rival the prolific Perseid meteor shower in August!
It's exciting, the unpredictability of the shower. Like life, there is no certainly that the outcome will be as expected. We just have to prepare, show up and hope for the best!
For optimal viewing in your area, seek out a dark sky with minimal light pollution.
If you're having trouble seeing it, or if you want to join other amateur astronomers across the country as it happens, NASA's website will host a live chat from 11 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. EDT Saturday, as well as offering a live view of the skies over Huntsville, Alabama.
|A view of the Milky Way Galaxy at Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania.|
|Dumbbell Nebula as seen through park's telescope at Observatory Park Geauga Park District, Ohio|