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The meteor shower gets its name because the space rocks appear to originate from the constellation Camelopardalis, also known as the giraffe, near the north star. Credit: NASA
The meteor shower gets its name because the space rocks appear to originate from the constellation Camelopardalis, also known as the giraffe, near the north star. Credit: NASA

AUSTIN May 23, 2014 – Want to observe tonight’s highly anticipated first time ever Camelopardilid meteor shower?

READ ALSO: The Great Meteor Storm of 2014: What you need to know about Camelopardalid

1-Who can see the meteor shower?

North Americans are best positioned to observe the shower. Europe is in daylight. The entire southern hemisphere is out of position for observing it.

2-Where do I look?

Look toward the North Star, Polaris, in the Little Dipper. The meteors will appear to emanate from a point about 10 degrees below it in the obscure constellation Camelopardis, the giraffe. Meteors will be visible over the entire sky down to the horizon.

3-What time should I look?

The meteor shower is predicted to peak from 2am-4am Eastern, 1-3am Central, 12am-2am Mountain and 11pm-1am Pacific time. There is a lot of uncertainty in this prediction and meteors could arrive earlier or later than forecast. It’s best to start watching a couple hours earlier and a wait couple hours later for your time zone to be sure.

4-How many meteors will I see?

Predictions have ranged from 100-1,000 meteors per hour in ideal conditions. The possibility of a “meteor storm” has been mentioned. A meteor storm is 1,000 or more meteors per hour. Most experts do not believe it will reach “storm” status.

5-How bright will the meteors be?

This is what is really special about this new meteor shower. Scientists say there are a lot of course grained particles in the cloud that earth will pass through. That makes for bright, spectacular meteors. It probably won’t reach “storm” status but the meteors you do see should more spectacular.

6-How does this meteor shower compare to others?

Tonight’s shower will be largest of 2014. It should have more and brighter meteors than the Perseids, traditionally the biggest meteor shower of the year.

7-Where do meteor showers come from?

They come from the accumulated dust left over from the tails of periodic comets. It creates a repeating meteor show that happens around the dates each year. This new one will do the same.

The meteor show will be perfectly positioned high up in dark skies near the north star, Polaris, for North American viewers. Best observing time is said to be Saturday morning from 2-4 a.m. EDT. Europe will be in daylight by then. Sorry, southern hemisphere, you’re totally out of luck this time.

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  • Steve Davidson

    Here is my official comment summing up last night that I left on the original meteor CDN story:

    Wellll… carefully packed up the camera gear… went to a meticulously selected, darkest sky I could find about 50 miles from Austin… nice cactus and yucca patch available for foreground interest on a north facing view… disappointment. No big show… no pictures. 🙁

    I saw six Camelopardalids before cloud cover moved in. All were short and ordinary. As it turns out, it was about as good as anyone else saw, and mine wasn’t a particularly dark sky.

    The best meteor of the night I saw captured on an online tracking site wasn’t a Camelopardalid at all, but a sporatic meteor up in Canada that just happened along last night.

    Astronomy can be a fickle master when it comes to one-of-a-kind events.

    The brat within wants to scold ol’ Mother Nature. 😉