Keep an eye on the sky for possible major meteors
An exciting new meteor shower — the May Camelopardalids — might come on the scene tonight.
This possible shower stems from Comet 209P/LINEAR, discovered in 2004.
If predictions remain true, Earth might be sandblasted with debris from this comet, resulting in a fine display of meteors, or shooting stars, overnight.
Mid-northern North American latitudes are favored.
The peak night of the shower is predicted for today. Computer models indicate Hawaii can anticipate early evening meteors between 8-10 p.m. Moonrise of a waning crescent moon will take place at 2:13 a.m., leaving the skies fairly dark to witness the meteors, explained Gary Fujihara of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.
The meteors are predicted to radiate from the constellation Camelopardalis, an obscure northern constellation whose name comes from early Rome, where it was thought a creature half camel and half leopard existed. Today, we know this creature as a giraffe. Since meteors in annual showers take their names from the constellation from which they appear to radiate, it is known as the May Camelopardalids.
The Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project (LINEAR) discovered this small and dim comet Feb. 3, 2004. The International Astronomical Union gave it the permanent number 209P on Dec. 12, 2008.
P209/LINEAR is a periodic comet, its orbit around they sun is relatively short, and it brings it near the sun for its perihelion passage in just more than five years.
The comet’s last perihelion passage occurred May 6. Although the comet itself is not that exciting, calculations of the orbit of Comet P209P/LINEAR indicate the last debris trail will pass very close to Earth.
This debris left behind by the comet could enter the atmosphere and burn up, creating a new meteor shower, explained Fujihara.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.