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By PASer Ces Verzosa, Tech Times | May 17, 2014
Joining the roster of the most-awaited meteor showers on Earth is the Camelopardalid meteor shower radiating from the constellation of Camelopardalis, the 18th largest constellation in the night sky.
When it rains it pours. Such rings true with the month of May as a unique cosmic spectacle is anticipated to close the month with a bang.
First spotted by a Dutch astronomer named Petrus Plancius and later documented by German astronomer Jakob Bartsch in the 1960s, the Camelopardalis constellation depicts an image of a giraffe that resembles a camel and a leopard, hence its name.
Seen clearly in the northern hemisphere, Camelopardalis is a circumpolar constellation, which means that unlike any popular constellations that go from east to west, this one remains in the night sky, revolving only around the Polaris or the North Star.
This could make the new meteor shower a sight worth the wait for the perennial onlookers and curious individuals alike since it would be the first time a never-heard meteor shower will showcase its radiance to Earth. As our planet plows through the stream of small rocks Comet 209P/LINEAR had left behind, they are expected to light up the night sky with strokes of bright beams with much frequency.
As per astronomers, it could be a meteor storm festooning the evening with as much as 1,000 meteors every hour. Some experts predicted it could be a copious number of fireballs gracing the night sky. Perhaps it will just be an ordinary night for the people on Earth, and the scientists could only find out.
Astronomy magazine's senior editor Rich Talcott is positive that the Camelopardalid will give an exceptional view.
"Over the past 15 or 20 years, astronomers have done a very good job at figuring out, OK, here's where the debris streams will lie. I'm thinking the odds are pretty good we'll get something nice May 24," Talcott said.
On the late evening of May 23 until the early hours of May 24, the moon would be in its waning phase and even if it rises at 3:41 in the morning, it would not be disrupting the view.
"They could start as soon as it gets dark the night of the 23rd," Talcott added. "I'm going to go out and check every hour. We don't know because this is the first time, and I don't want to miss it."
Meteor showers usually take their name after the constellation they would be radiating from.
Discovered in 2004, Comet 209P/LINEAR was spotted by Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research or LINEAR with its 39-inch reflector. This May, it came closest to the Sun and now its debris is expected to ignite the Earth's night sky.
FROM EDMUND ROSALES (PAS Board Director Emeritus)
NASA scientists from JPL announced a newly discovered meteor debris left by Comet 209P/Linear that could produce a meteor shower to a storm coming from the constellation Camelopardis or Giraffe this coming May 23 and 24.
A meteor shower produces several to hundreds of meteors per hour while a meteor storm produces thousands of meteors. So far, the only meteor shower that produces a storm is the Leonids ( Nov. 17-18) every 33 years. The last time it happened was last 2001 were I was able to count 1,786 meteors using my tally counter that night. The next it is expected to happen will be on 2034.
No need to wait for the 2034 Leonids if you want to witness a meteor storm. Even if there is a waning crescent moon, PAS will conduct an overnight observation on both nights at the observation deck of the Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila.
Clear skies be with us al!