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NASA Hosts Events about New Meteor Shower, Experts Available
May 23, 2014


A NASA-sponsored meteor shower surveillance project headed by meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, has detected some meteors in early June of 2011 and 2012 that appear to originate from comet 209P/Linear. This past comet activity shows how the meteors may manifest in the night of Friday, May 23, when a new shower may arise as a result of this comet approaching Earth exceptionally close in late May.

NASA will host two opportunities for the public and media to learn more about the anticipated new meteor shower, the May Camelopardalids.

As the comet dust enters Earth's atmosphere, the resistance of the air on the space rocks, called meteoroids, makes it extremely hot. A moving streak, or "shooting star" is caused by glowing hot air as the meteoroid flies through the atmosphere. When Earth encounters many meteoroids at once, it's called a meteor shower. NASA scientists expect the shower to be active between 11 p.m. May 23 to 1:30 a.m. PDT on May 24.

NASA and Slooh will partner to host a live astronomy event featuring Jenniskens who will speak with Slooh's astronomy experts Bob Berman and Paul Cox about Comet 209P LINEAR at 3 p.m. Slooh will provide live feeds of the event from 3 p.m. PDT May 23 to midnight May 24 on the company’s website and the UStream feed of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

The SETI Institute will fly Jenniskens and his team to an altitude of 20,000 feet to observe the event free of clouds and atmospheric dust that make observation difficult from the ground. Jenniskens also will study the shower with his autonomous meteor shower surveillance stations at Lick Observatory, Fremont Peak Observatory and in Sunnyvale. The flight will originate from Palo Alto, California, at 10:30 p.m., head toward Seattle, and return to Palo Alto approximately four hours later.

Jenniskens and SETI Institute CEO David Black will conduct a press conference following the meteor shower at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24. Reporters interested in participating should contact Alan Dunton at alan@triplepointpr.com for call-in details.

Later on May 23, Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Alabama will host an overnight NASA web chat from 8 p.m. May 23 to midnight May 24, and will answer questions about the Camelopardalid shower.

More information and a chat window to join the discussion will be available a few minutes before 8 p.m. on May 23 at: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/geminids_2013.html

For more information about the Camelopardalids meteor shower, and what local time offers the best chance to see the event, visit: http://meteor.seti.org

The Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) project is sponsored by the NASA Near Earth Object Observation program.

Text issued as Ames media advisory M14-039

Rachel Hoover
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Janet Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

A meteor from comet 209P/Linear
A meteor from comet 209P/Linear, in an image compiled from video taken by Peter Jenniskens with the CAMS video camera network at 7:59:46 UT on June 13, 2012. The meteor moved from top to bottom through the constellation of Serpens Cauda.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SETI/Peter Jenniskens
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Page Last Updated: May 23rd, 2014
Page Editor: Rachel Hoover