May 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Rare meteor shower possible across Metro Detroit around midnight Friday

Little streaks of light are expected to decorate the night sky during a rare meteor shower beginning late Friday, scientists say.

No one has seen the May Camelopardalids before, but it may be similar to the Perseid shower in August, said David Corliss, part-time faculty member in the Wayne State University Physics and Astronomy department.

“It looks like it’ll be a good show,” he said. “It’s good to get away from city lights. No special equipment is needed. It’s best to just use the naked eye.”

The May Camelopardalids is a result of cosmic debris from comet 209P/LINEAR, according to NASA. Two years ago, two meteor experts announced that dust ejected from the comet back in the 1800s would cross the Earth’s orbit on Saturday.

Prime time for viewing is between midnight and 2 a.m. Saturday, but could possibly be seen as early as Friday evening, Corliss said. Look for activity just under the North Star.

Corliss also suggests preparing as though going to a fireworks show. The meteor showers will likely occur every couple of minutes, over a period of hours, he said.

“Have bug spray, a comfortable chair,” he said. “It’s not going to be done in two minutes.”
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