This Saturday morning we are in for a new show! The Camelopardalid Meteor, discovered in 2004, passes by the sun once every 5 years. On the night of May 23rd and early morning hours of May 24th scientists predict upwards of 200 meteors per hour raining down on us as we pass through it's dust tail. 
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 In 2012, Jeremie Vaubaillon of The Institut de Mecanique Celeste et de Calcul des Ephemerides in France told space.com:

  • "So far,given the observations, we estimate a ZHR (zenithal hourly rate) of 100/hr to 400/hr, which is an excellent outburst! But this shower can become an exceptional one. Indeed, given the current orbit of the comet, all the trails ejected between 1803 and 1924 do fall in the Earth’s path in May 2014! As a consequence, this shower might as well be a storm."

The more recent, less optimistic calculations come from Quanzhi Ye and Paul A. Wiegert, both at University of Western Ontario. Their work was published online in November 2013. In a report on their work at skyandtelescope.com, John Bochanski wrote that Ye and Wiegert’s work suggests a rate of 200 meteors per hour under ideal conditions. Bochanski wrote:

  • " Ye and Wiegert warn that, given the current relatively weak dust production of the comet, rates could be much lower. With the low dust production, as well as the team’s lower estimate of how many debris streams from the comet’s previous passes are hanging around in this region of space, it’s highly unlikely that we’re in for a meteor storm (1,000 per hour) — although the team couldn’t quite rule it out."

Though there is some debate in the scientific world as to how accurate this Meteor Storm prediction is. This is the very first time we will be seeing the show, so no one can guess just how spectacular it will be. The only way to know is to watch.  
Peak viewing hours on the East Coast will be from 2-4 am, Central 1 - 3am and West Coast 12 - 2am, Saturday May 24th, weather permitting. Unfortunately it will only be view-able in the North American region. The good news is, if bad weather is a problem, your not in North America or you'd rather stay indoors NASA will be live streaming the entire event! Check out NASA's chat and live stream here or watch it live below!

Find more events going on inside May's Edition of Connect Spirits
 


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