Cosmic Event — Attention families, space geeks and insomniacs alike, the Earth is set to intercept a new meteor shower late Friday into Saturday.
Many forecasts show 200 to 1,000 meteors per hour between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday.
“We expect these meteors to radiate from a point in Camelopardalis, also known as ‘the giraffe,’ a faint constellation near the North Star,” according to Bill Cooke, who heads NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “New meteor showers don’t come along that often. It will be the first time in a generation that a new meteor shower will show up.”
The shower would be spawned by debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, which was discovered in 2004. It orbits the Sun once every five years, shuttling roughly between the orbits of Earth and Jupiter. A relatively close encounter with Jupiter in 2012 pushed the comet’s path closer to Earth.
If you’re having trouble seeing it, or if you want to join other amateur astronomers across the country as it happens, NASA’s website will host a live chat from 11 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. EDT Saturday, as well as offering a live view of the skies over Huntsville, Alabama.