‘New’ Meteor Shower Could Be A Doozy, NASA Says

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Perseid meteor shower. (Photo credit: BORYANA KATSAROVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Perseid meteor shower. (Photo credit: BORYANA KATSAROVA/AFP/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — A meteor shower that may be observed from Earth for the first time Saturday morning could be a star-gazer’s delight.

The best time to keep an eye out for the celestial show is between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The shower is called the May Camelopardalids, and is caused by dust from the comet 209P/LINEAR. The comet was discovered in February 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, and it dips inside Earth’s orbit every five years as it rotates the sun, according to NASA.

Two years ago, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center announced that Earth would be due for an encounter with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, the bulk of which was left there all the way back in the 1800s.

Some forecasters have predicted more than 200 meteors will be visible per hour, according to the head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, Dr. Bill Cooke. But no one is sure exactly how much debris is in Earth’s path.

“We have no idea what the comet was doing in the 1800s,” says Cooke. As a result of the uncertainty, “there could be a great meteor shower—or a complete dud.”

If the highest predictions are accurate, though, the Camelopardalids could put on a display that rivals the well-known Perseids shower, which can be seen every August.

“We expect these meteors to radiate from a point in Camelopardalis, also known as ‘the giraffe’, a faint constellation near the North Star,” Cooke says.

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