Turn your eyes skyward tonight for a meteor shower that’s truly the first of its kind. The Camelopardalid meteor shower will commence when the Earth, for the first time, passes through the 200-year-old space wake of the super excitingly named Comet 209P/LINEAR. Meteor count estimates range from 100 (a mild shower) to 1000 (a full-on STORM!) per hour.

Here’s the catch: Some comets spew debris like it’s their job, while others kind of putter along not leaving much behind. Currently, Comet 209P/LINEAR is skewing towards leaving a pretty weak tail and scientists have no idea what it was doing in the 1800s. If it was more active in the outgassing department back 200 years ago, then tonight’s sky will provide the best light show of the year.

For an added bonus, the meteor shower will commence at a comfortable 11pm PST tonight and run for two hours, meaning, if you’re on the best West Coast you won’t need to lose much sleep over it.

Check out the handy map below (thanks accuweather.com!) to see if you’re in the prime watching zones.


May 23, 2014