BLOG: Here’s Hoping for the May Camelopardalis
Step outside tonight between 8 and 10 p.m., and look up toward the North Star.
You may see many shooting stars.
And then again, you may not.
Such are the vagueries of a new meteor shower.
According to NASA, back in 2006, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center predicted that Earth would encounter debris from the comet 209P/LINEAR.
They said the debris, streams of dust emitted by the comet mainly back in the 1800s, would cross our planet’s orbit on May 24, 2014 (that’s 600 to 900 UTC time – subtract 10 hours for Hawaii time).
NASA said some scientists believe the one-night-only-if-at-all shower could produce more than 200 meteors per hour.
If there are any, they are expected to radiate from a point in the faint constellation Camelopardalis – “the giraffe,” which is located near Polaris, more popularly known as the North Star.
The North Star is directly above the North Pole, and therefore is the star that the night sky appears to rotate around.
It is also lies at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper.
To find it, locate the Big Dipper, and draw a line from the star at the bottom edge of the dipper’s cup to the one at its lip. That will point to the North Star.
Next, root for the mathematical accuracy of Lyytinen and Jenniskens.
And hopefully enjoy.