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Camelopardalids meteor shower a bust, but not a surprise

That’s not a meteor, it’s a jet.  That was all Capital Weather Gang photographer Kevin Ambrose was able to photograph last night. He didn’t see one meteor despite “spectacular” viewing conditions in northern Virginia. (Kevin Ambrose)
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The highly anticipated Camelopardalids meteor shower – which some predicted could unleash hundreds of meteors per hour – instead produced a lowly 5 to 10. This result surely disappointed skywatchers, but astronomers knew the bust potential was real.

Here’s what some of the various astronomy Web sites are saying about the shower, in hindsight…

Although this [the 5 to 10 meteors per hour] is a far cry from predictions, it is hardly a surprise. The parent comet, 209P/LINEAR, is faint and currently produces only a small amount of dust. Most forecasters acknowledged that there might be less dust in Earth’s path than the models suggested.

Another possibility is that the shower is not a dud, just delayed. If models mis-located the debris zone, an outburst could still occur later on May 24th.

Universe Today:

Based on a few reports via e-mail and my own vigil of two and a half hours centered on the predicted maximum of 2 a.m. CDT (7 UT) Saturday morning the Camelopardalid meteor shower did not bring down the house. BUT it did produce some unusually slow meteors and (from my site) one exception fireball with a train that lasted more than 20 minutes.

Capital Weather Gang readers/contributors who woke up early expressed some disappointment at the lack of action, but others didn’t regret venturing out. Some reactions:

Capital Weather Gang’s Kathryn Prociv:  OK I admit it! I bought into the hype of the rare, “it will look like warping into light-speed!” meteor shower last night. It was a total bust, though I’m sticking to my story that I THINK I saw a couple streaks – these visions of which were likely hallucinations haha. Regardless it was a wonderful night to be outside, I got to practice taking my first long-exposure night-scapes, and I was in good company! 

Capital Weather Gang’s Kevin Ambrose: The Camelopardalids meteor shower was a total bust. I did not see one shooting star last night. I did photograph a jet leaving Dulles Airport that looks a lot like a shooting star (see top image).

At least for those of you who lost sleep over this meteor shower, we have a long weekend to catch up…