The list of major meteor showers hasn’t changed much in recent decades. Meteor showers are a part of nature, and like all things in nature, a meteor shower can become more attractive or the frequency of meteors decreases from year to year.
But in 2014, an exciting new meteor shower could emerge. This meteor shower comes from a comet – Comet 209P/LINEAR – discovered in 2004. Comet 209P/LINEAR approached the Sun in 2009 and will return in early May 2014. On the night of May 23-24, 2014 – if predictions are correct – Earth will receive many remnants of this comet and as a result many bright meteors will appear. The mid-northern hemisphere latitudes will be the focal point.
An automated observing operation, the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project, found this small faint comet on February 3, 2004. The International Academy of Sciences (IAU) named it 209P on 12/12/2008 .
P209/LINEAR is a periodic comet, meaning that its orbit around the sun is relatively short, so we can see it approaching the sun several times. Comet 209P/LINEAR’s orbit brings it closer to the Sun every more than five years. The next passage of perigee is May 6, 2014.
The comet itself is really nothing special. But what is interesting is that the orbital calculations of P209/LINEAR indicate that in May 2014, this cometary remnant will be very close to Earth. The remnants left behind by the comet may enter the atmosphere and burn up, forming a new meteor shower.
More recent and less optimistic calculations come from Quanzhi Ye and Paul A. Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario. Their study was published online in November 2013. In a report on skyandtelescope.com, John Bochanski writes that Ye and Wiegert’s research shows that this meteor shower will have a frequency of 200 meteors per hour under ideal conditions:
“But Ye and Wiegert warn: because comets produce very little dust right now, the frequency is likely to be much lower. Given this low amount of dust, as well as the team’s lower estimate of the amount of remnants from the comet’s previous approach to this region of space, it’s unlikely we’ll have a storm. of meteors (1000 stars/hour). ”
Will comet 209P/LINEAR cause a meteor storm, or at least a massive meteor shower? Like all meteor showers, the only way to find out is to go out in the dead of night and see for yourself.
The nightly peak of the meteor shower is predicted for May 23-24, 2014.
The meteors will radiate from the constellation Camelopardalis (Giraffe), a very little-known northern constellation. The constellation’s name is derived from Roman times, when it was considered a composite being, described as having the characteristics of both a camel (Camel) and a leopard (Leopard). Today we just call it Giraffe (Giraffe)!
This constellation – the epicenter of the meteor shower – is located in the northern sky, close to the north celestial pole, making sightings more favorable to inhabitants of the northern hemisphere than those of the southern hemisphere.
Regarding the expected duration of the meteor shower, southern Canada and the United States would be the best places to see the meteor shower on the night of May 23-24, 2014.
Brief: On the evening of May 23-24, 2014 – if the forecast is correct – Earth could receive many remnants of comet 209P/LINEAR, which could lead to a massive meteor shower. Could it be a meteor storm? Recent calculations suggest it’s unlikely, but it could be a meteor shower large enough to be exciting.