A "meteor storm" may shower Earth with thousands of meteors overnight on May 23-24!
As Earth passes through the debris trail of Comet 209P/LINEAR, dust and other particles from the comet will fall into Earth's atmosphere, burning themselves out en route. The meteor shower may produce up to four shooting stars per minute at its peak in the evening skies over North America.
While comet dust creates a pretty light show, it presents no danger to Earth. Meteor showers typically occur a few times each year. However, this is the first new meteor storm in the era of modern astronomy, so predictions for the intensity of the shower vary.
The meteors will be visible across large portions of the northern sky. The radiant point -- the location in the sky from which the meteors will seem to appear -- is in the northern constellation Camelopardalis (the giraffe), near Polaris and the Big Dipper. Best viewing times are expected to be between the hours of 11PM-1AM Pacific Daylight Time (2AM-4AM Eastern Daylight Time). Share a free sample 2014 Day-By-Day Forecast. Look forward to 2014 with this forecast as your road map. Get a free one-week preview now!
The radiant point of this particular meteor storm is in a constellation with the same right ascension as Gemini. The messenger planet, Mercury, is also associated with Gemini, portending challenges in communication and trade in the coming months. Gemini individuals may experience a shake-up in their own lives, either through important news arising from an unexpected source, or by simply feeling a sharp need to change the status quo.
Comet 209P/LINEAR made its closest approach to the Sun on May 6, and will be passing nearest to Earth on May 29. The comet's path will take it from the right of the bowl of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), down behind the mane of Leo, and across the ecliptic plane, not far from the king-maker star Regulus -- which itself is now in the tropical astrological sign Virgo.
Were Comet 209P/LINEAR visible, by the ancient rules it might portend a major shift in leadership somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, it's difficult to determine if these ancient rules apply since this comet is too faint to be seen with the naked eye.
Astrology's history of watching the skies for comets, meteor shows, and other omens dates back at least 3000 years. Considered by the ancients to be the celestial equivalent of today's "emergency broadcast system," comets and large meteor showers were never considered a good omen, and heralded challenging events on Earth based on their placement in the sky.
(For those outside the viewing area or hampered by unclear skies, the meteor shower can be viewed live online at Slooh.com or at the Virtual Telescope Project.)
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