HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – With little cloud cover expected over the Tennessee Valley Friday night, viewing should be optimal for the May Camelopardalids. Experts say the new meteor shower could rival that of the August Perseid event – with 200 meteors an hour during its peak.
The shower will be created as the earth travels through debris ejected from comet 209P/Linear over the last 300 years. It was given the name May Camelopardalids because its radiant (the point in the sky where its meteors appear to originate) is in the constellation Camelopardalids, which is located between Ursa Major and Cassiopeia.
Scientists say no one has seen this shower before so models can’t be calibrated. However, they are reasonably certain of the timing. If there is going to be a meteor shower to see, it will occur between 9:30pm Friday and 6:00am Saturday (CST). Peak viewing will likely be between 1:00 and 3:00am.
To get the best view of the event, stargazers are advised to get away from any bright lights and look straight up. The May Camelopardalids should be visible over the entire sky above North America. If there are no clouds and you still don’t see any meteors, it’s possible the shower may have been much weaker than predicted and not easily visible to the naked eye. Also, remember your eyes will need to adjust to the dark, a process that may take up to 45 minutes.
If you prefer to stay indoors, NASA will offer a live Ustream sky view from Huntsville of the event. A NASA meteor expert will also be available for a live web chat. The chat will begin here at 10pm.
Here’s more information about the meteor shower on Facebook.