A never-before-seen meteor shower could put on a dramatic show in the night sky tonight, NASA has advised, with the May Camelopardalids potentially featuring more than 200 meteors each hour. The result of periodic comet 209P/LINEAR, the predicted meteor shower is actually the result of a long-ago flyby in the 1800s, during which time it left streams of dust trailing it. Read on for how you could see it yourself.
In fact, NASA suggests that the shower could possibly rival Perseid (shown above in a NASA photo) for drama, the August 2012 meteor event which saw many star-gazers head outside to catch a glimpse of the tumbling space rocks.
Exactly what sort of show will be put on is unclear, since the activity level of the comet back in the 1800s isn’t known. More recent passes have indicated it is fairly inactive now, though things could have been very different years ago.
Whether you’ll be able to see it or not depends on where you are in the world. NASA has released a map – below – which sets out the “Shower Visible” area over time from May 23rd to May 24th. If you’re within that area, you should be able to look up and see it taking place.
NASA expects the shower to be active between 10:30pm EDT tonight, May 23, to to 7am tomorrow, May 24. Peak periods will be between 2am and 4am EDT, May 24th.