Camelopardalids Meteor Shower/ Storm
Run for the hills a meteor storm is coming! Well that’s what some say and hope.
On the evening of May 23rd/24th Earth will pass through the debris stream of Comet 209P/LINEAR. For a while astronomers have believed this encounter could lead to a very strong meteor shower of possibly 200 to 1000+ meteors per hour – A meteor storm.
Some believe there could be just a strong meteor shower and some believe it could rain meteors, but the truth of it is no one actually knows until it happens!
It’s incredibly difficult to predict what will happen on the 23rd/ 24th as there are many variables. Debris trail density, size, position, etc, etc… Astronomers just have a rough idea and some have different theories. Some are steadfast in it being a mediocre display and some think the meteor storm will be so big they are fashioning tin foil hats!
This is the grand opening night, the premiere of the Camelopardalids (the name given to them due to the point in the sky they will radiate from) so we won’t know what will happen until it happens.
When and Where to Watch the Meteors
No matter where you are on Earth on the night of the 23rd/ 24th May, go outside and look for meteors! The best times will be any time after dark and before dawn for many of us, but the best seats in the house for this meteor shower/ meteor storm are in North America – USA and Canada.
The Camelopardalids are a northern hemisphere event and observers in the southern hemisphere will see a lot less if anything, but still keep a look out.
The peak is expected to be on May 24th at roughly 07:00 UTC/ GMT but there may be good observing possibilities the evening before or after. Nobody knows for sure, so no matter where you are look up on these nights and see what you can see.
How to See the Meteors
I like to keep this simple! Looking for meteors is as easy as easy can be! You just need to be very patient, comfortable and choose a corner of your garden or observing location away from street or bright lights. Look up and fill your gaze with sky. Do this for as long as possible.
There is no particular direction to look as meteors appear at random in any part of the sky. If you see one (a split second bright steak of light) you can trace its path back to where it originated – The radiant. If this is in Camelopardis near the north celestial pole between the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia then you have seen a Camelopardalid, a meteor from this meteor storm or shower or whatever it turns out to be.