AUSTIN May 23, 2014 – Want to observe tonight’s highly anticipated first time ever Camelopardilid meteor shower?
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.
Watch the live feed from the SLOOH observatories here