A Possible New Meteor Shower: May Camelopardalids

Camelopardalids on Flickr

Image for May Camelopardalid meteor showerGot great pix of the Camelopardalids meteor shower? Share them on Flickr! Your images may attract interest from the media and receive international exposure.
› Share your images

How Do You SAY That?

Graphic for May Camelopardalids meteor shower
That's a very good question, but there's not just one answer.
› Listen to some possibilities

Connect With the Skies

Follow the Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center:
Facebook icon Twitter icon Flickr icon

NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO)

Image of meteor fireballsThe NASA Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) is the NASA organization responsible for meteoroid environments pertaining to spacecraft engineering and operations.
› View

Media Contact

Janet Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Ala.

Text Size

A Possible New Meteor Shower: May Camelopardalids

Editor's note: This event is now closed.
› Chat Transcript (PDF, 325 Kb)

Scientists anticipate a new meteor shower tonight: the May Camelopardalids, resulting from the dust of periodic comet 209P/LINEAR. No one has seen it before, but the shower could put on a prolific show. The shower is predicted to be active on May 24, 02:30 - 11:00 UTC (May 23, 10:30 p.m. to May 24, 7 a.m. EDT). The peak is projected between 06:00 - 08:00 UTC (2-4 a.m EDT). This will be a one-night-only event.

Partial map of May Camelopardalids meteor shower
Projected viewing of May Camelopardalids meteor shower at 06:00 UTC. Click here for full map. (NASA/MSFC/Danielle Moser)

“Some forecasters have predicted a meteor storm of more than 200 meteors per hour,” said Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “We have no idea what the comet was doing in the 1800s. The parent comet doesn’t appear to be very active now, so there could be a great show, or there could be little activity.”

› Viewing tips, projected rates, other FAQs
› Audio: Dr. Bill Cooke discusses May Camelopardalids (mp3s)   Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3


More About the May Camelopardalids and Comet 209P/LINEAR

Comet 209P/LINEAR was discovered in February 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a cooperative effort of NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and the US Air Force. It is a relatively dim comet that dips inside the orbit of Earth once every five years as it loops around the sun.

In 2006 meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center announced that Earth was due for an encounter with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR. Streams of dust ejected by the comet mainly back in the 1800s would cross Earth's orbit on May 24, 2014. The result, they said, could be a significant meteor outburst.

"We expect these meteors to radiate from a point in Camelopardalis, also known as 'the giraffe,' a faint constellation near the North Star," Cooke said. "It’s a great opportunity to see a new meteor shower -- an opportunity I want to see with my own eyes.”


comments powered by Disqus
Page Last Updated: May 29th, 2014
Page Editor: Brooke Boen