NASA Chat: Elusive Meteor Shower Offers Opportunity for Citizen Scientists

Editor's note: This event is now closed.
› Chat Transcript (PDF, 145 Kb)

A scarcely known meteor shower, the gamma Delphinids, is expected to return to the skies over Earth in early June 2013. The shower was first observed as an outburst by American observers in Maryland on June 11 1930. Only a few meteors from this shower are thought to have been seen in the decades since, and those identifications are tenuous. Recent calculations by scientists indicate that 2013 and 2027 might be the best years for a repeat performance of 1910.

On the night of June 10-11, from 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. EDT, Dr. Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office will take your questions via live web chat. In addition to offering viewing tips about the elusive gamma Delphinid shower, the chat will also include a live Ustream telescope view of the skies over Huntsville, Ala.

Joining the chat is easy. Simply return to this page a few minutes before the chat begins, and a chat module will be live on this page. Simply type your name, and when the room opens, ask your questions and share your observations about the gamma Delphinids.

Flickr: NASA Needs Your Photos and Videos!

The NASA Meteoroid Environment Office is interested in video or images captured of possible gamma Delphinids. Images and video can be uploaded to our Flickr group at https://www.flickr.com/groups/gammadelphinids/.

More About the Gamma Delphinids

"Scientists have been working on calculations, and given that we have minimal interference from the waxing crescent moon, this year is an excellent opportunity for a stargazer to contribute meaningful science for this elusive meteor shower," said Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

The best way to see the gamma Delphinids is to go outside between midnight and dawn on the morning of June 11. Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Lie on your back and look straight up. It is possible that some gamma Delphinids can appear as early as the night of June 10 starting at 9:30 p.m. local time, which marks the rise of the constellation Delphinus in the eastern sky. However, the peak of the shower is projected for early morning on June 11 around 4:30 a.m. local time, which roughly coincides with the time when Delphinus is highest in the sky.

If they exist, gamma Delphinids move at a speed of 57 km per second, or 127,500 miles per hour -- pretty fast for meteors.

More About Chat Expert Bill Cooke

NASA Media Contact:
Janet Anderson, 256-544-0034
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala.
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