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Watch Camelopardalis Meteor Shower Friday at Chabot Space & Science Center

The meteor show is being called the "surprise meteor shower" as it was not expected by astronomers. Tickets are $5.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

From Chabot Space & Science Center:

On the evening of Friday, May 23rd a meteor shower is the focus of a viewing party at Chabot Space & Science Center. The peak of the show will occur a little after 11pm (PDT) on Friday May 23rd, until about 1am (PDT), Saturday, May 24th and estimates of sightings range from 100-200 per hour to 1,000

The summer season regularly boasts the Perseids and Geminids meteor showers, but this one came as somewhat of a surprise to astronomers. 

The Camelopardalids takes its name from the constellation Camelopardalis, as the meteors will appear to radiate from an area in the northern portion of the sky from said constellation. There is little evidence that the Camelopardalis have been visible before but due to the shifting  of the orbit of a periodic comet, 209P/LINEAR, visibility is now more likely from Earth.  The comet 209P/LINEAR’s  dust trail is now expected to sweep over Earth causing the meteor showers that we will witness on Earth.

Astronomers are not certain as to the exact number of meteors that will be seen during that period. Chabot astronomer Gerald McKeegan says, “most predictions for rate range from 100 to 200 meteors per hour, but there is a possibility it could be as high as 1,000 meteors per hour, making it a meteor storm!” 

The main part of the shower, thought to occur in the two-hour period late Friday night into early Saturday morning, will be visible from vantage points at Chabot. McKeegan recommends relying on the naked eye to view the show because “telescopes see only a small part of the sky, but meteors streak across large sections of the sky.” 

Chabot is hosting special open viewing hours on the deck for this astronomical black-out. Staff astronomers and observatory deck specialists will be on hand for Q&A, informal presentations, and general conversation. Hot chocolate and treats will be sold and visitors are encouraged to bundle up, bring warm blankets and comfy seats or sleeping bags, and enjoy the view from the top of the hill. Viewing for the meteor shower is $5.

For more information on purchasing tickets for the event call the box office at (510)336-7373. For updated information visit chabotspace.org


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