Look Out for a Meteor Shower Coming to Earth for the First Time Ever on May 24

If you’ve ever seen a meteor shower, you’d know it is a pretty spectacular sight with lights streaking and falling across the night sky. Although they are rather common these days, we may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a never-before-seen meteor shower this coming May.

On May 24, planet Earth may encounter a century-old meteor shower for the first time ever. The comet stream was created by Comet 209P/LINEAR and has been around since the 19th century, though it wasn’t discovered until 2004. This year, Earth’s orbit coincides with the stream that could generate a magnificent shower, potentially greater than the annual Perseid shower in August. Forecasters are skeptical, though, unsure whether this comet will generate a meteor shower at all. But if it does generate one, it will be named “May Camelopardalids.”

Meteors are created by tiny, dust-sized particles, usually from comets but sometimes asteroids as well, that travel through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. This causes such a buildup of pressure in front of the traveling particles that it causes extreme heating, leaving the visible line we see and interpret as a shooting star. We see meteor showers when Earth’s orbit passes through a dust stream caused by several comets, creating several meteors at the same time.

The problem with the possible May 24 shower is that there is no evidence whether Comet 209P/LINEAR was active in the 19th century. Without any activity, the comet would not produce any dust particles and thus no meteors for a meteor shower.

If you still have faith, the best viewing times will likely be between 2 and 4 a.m. EST on May 24th, with North America as the favorable spot to catch a meteor or two.

To prepare for the potential meteor show, watch this timelapse footage of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower in August by photographer and videographer Jeff Sullivan:

Featured image by U.S. Department of Agriculture
via Discovery News

Mikaela Rakos

By Mikaela Rakos

Mikaela is both a writer and content curator for Dashburst, looking to discover and share the latest news, art, entertainment and more. When not tracking down new content to share with the world, you can find Mikaela spending quality time with her rescue dog.