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"Looking Up" Astronomy Blog

By Johnny Tsai/WDBJ7 Blogger
Published On: Sep 20 2013 03:10:18 PM EDT
Updated On: May 23 2014 09:16:31 AM EDT
Johnny Tsai
May 23, 2014 -

The Camelopardalids

Meteor showers are a common thing.  Every year at the same time, we see these light shows that radiate from areas of the sky that give them their names, such as the Orionids and Perseids.  Tonight, there will be a surprise meteor shower, one that isn't on the annual schedule.

Comet 209P/LINEAR is flying by earth, and with it, comes this surprise meteor shower.   Discovered in 2009, this comet is making its closest approach to Earth on May 29th, coming 5 million miles from us, which is really close in astronomical terms.

Though the comet is very small, its tail debris it left behind some time ago is very dense and should produce a really good show in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 24th.   The shower will radiate from the northern skies near constellation Camelopardalis.

According to Sky and Telescope, there are some predictions that it may be a meteor storm, with as much as 1000 visible per hour.  Possibly even fireballs. Just like any meteor shower, when the experts say it will be a good one, sometimes it becomes a bust.