Posted from 11alive.com
A never-before-seen meteor shower is set to light up the night sky May 23.
(Photo: Ethan Miller Getty Images)
Coming to a circumpolar constellation near you: An all-new, never-before-seen, awkwardly named meteor shower that just might knock your astronomical socks off.
It's called the Camelopardalid meteor shower, and unlike annual showers such as the Perseids and Leonids that have been occurring for hundreds or thousands of years, it will occur for the first time the night of May 23 and early morning of May 24.
A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through debris left in space by a comet (the Perseids, for example, are debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle); the debris, little chunks of rock and other material, burns up in the atmosphere to form what some people call shooting or falling stars.
The Camelopardalids will be debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, a very dim comet that orbits the sun every five years. The comet was discovered in 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, NASA and the U.S. Air Force.
Sky watchers in North America may see a brand new meteor shower the night of May 23 and early morning of May 24. This will be the first time the Earth has passed through debris left by Comet 209P/LINEAR.(Photo: News-Press.com)
But while the Earth has been passing through Swift-Tuttle debris to create the Perseids for thousands of years (the first written account of the shower was in 36 A.D.), this will be the first time the Earth has passed through Comet 209P/LINEAR's leftovers.
Meteor showers vary in intensity: Some produce more meteors than others, and some years a particular meteor shower is better than other years.
It all depends on how much debris the Earth passes through, and some astronomers are predicting that all of Comet 209P/LINEAR's debris trails from 1803 through 1924 will intersect Earth's orbit, so the Camelopardalid meteor shower will be a meteor storm producing hundreds of meteors per hour.
So, how good will it be?
"That's always a good question, more so with this meteor shower because it's the first time we're seeing it," said Rich Talcott, senior editor of Astronomy magazine. "Over the past 15 or 20 years, astronomers have done a very good job at figuring out, 'OK, here's where the debris streams will lie.' I'm thinking the odds are pretty good we'll get something nice May 24."
Meteor showers are named for the constellation from which the meteors seem to radiate. That point is known as the radiant, and radiant for the Camelopardalids will be the constellation Camelopardalis (the giraffe).
Camelopardalis is a circumpolar constellation, which means that, rather than moving from east to west across the night sky, it goes around Polaris, the North Star, so it's up all night.
It's also easy to find because it's close to the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, two easily recognizable constellations.
The meteor shower will be easier to view in the South, says Carol Stewart, astronomer at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers, Fla.
"In Southwest Florida, we have an advantage over Northern latitudes because the meteors will come in at us from a lower altitude," she said. "Those are called 'Earth-grazers,' and they're longer-lasting and run farther across the sky."
Aside from clouds, a meteor watcher's worst enemy is a bright moon, which can wash out all but the brightest meteors.
On the night of May 23, however, the moon is not present, and it doesn't rise until 3:41 a.m. May 24. When it does rise, it will be a waning crescent, so it won't affect the meteor shower.
Astronomers predict peak activity for the shower will be from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. May 24, but Stewart will be looking at a wider window.
"They could start as soon as it gets dark the night of the 23rd," she said. "I'm going to go out and check every hour. We don't know because this is the first time, and I don't want to miss it."
Tomorrow in class we will go over our two astronomy tests and begin the mastery process.
TOMORROW IS THE LAST MORNING FOR TUTORING!!!!!
Earth Moon and Sun Mastery Contract
Based on the standards:
11a - focus on what really makes a planet stand out from the others. Look over the notes we took around the room, as well as the handout from your SSS
11b - know the difference in gravity and inertia, how they work together, and the main factors that affect gravitational force
11c - be able to tell comets, asteroids, and meteors (including metoroids and meteorites) apart, know defining characteristics and composition
11d - Where is Earth? Where in the Milky Way? Near newer or older stars?
12a - Big Bang Theory, how the universe formed, the celestial objects in order of size (universe, galaxy, solar system, etc.), heliocentric and geocentric models
12a1 - Major contributions of these scientists: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Hubble, Galileo, Kepler
Surprisingly, there IS life after the CRCT! There are also still two weeks of school! Here's the rundown of what's going on in science for the rest of the year:
Moon Journal due Tuesday 5/13
The moon journal was assigned the Friday before spring break and lasted for 30 nights. Students are welcome to use the internet or moon phase apps to help fill in any blank nights (or to help repair the damages of procrastination) for this assignment. The instructions, in total, are listed back in an early April blog (most likely April 4, the first date of the moon viewing)
The rubric for grading is attached:
Last day to be considered for awards night is THIS Friday
Names for "All As" and "All As and Bs" are being turned in this Friday. Any student wishing to be considered for those lists should turn in any mastery or replacement grades ASAP
Two part space test: Mon 5/12 and Tues 5/13
In order to spend time reviewing and prepping for CRCT, we delayed our two space tests until now. The test will be administered in two sections:
Last day for mastery: Thurs 5/15
Due to time constraints and the requirements to send out report cards, the last date to submit any mastery or makeup work is Thurs 5/15
Finals will be the Monday and Tuesday of the last week of school (5/19 & 5/20). They will be a review of all content from this semester.