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Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't Forget to Check Out The First-Ever "Giraffe" Meteor Shower Tonight

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 7:58 AM

click to enlarge A meteor shower that has been seen before - FLICKR/BILL GRACEY
  • flickr/Bill Gracey
  • A meteor shower that has been seen before

We found you the perfect activity for your Tinder date tonight. All you have to do is be interesting enough to keep your date interested until about 11 p.m, tonight when Outer Space will take over.

At that time, a first-ever meteor shower, being dubbed the Giraffe, is expected to delight us all, perhaps with as many as 200 meteors per hour. It's technical name is May Camelopardalids, and it's caused by dust from periodic comet 209P/LINEAR, according to NASA.

And it's never been seen before.

As we understand it, California is one of states with the best viewing seats in the house. Here's what NASA has to say about it:

Comet 209P/LINEAR was discovered in February 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a cooperative effort of NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, and the US Air Force. It is a relatively dim comet that dips inside the orbit of Earth once every five years as it loops around the sun.

Two years ago, meteor experts Esko Lyytinen of Finland and Peter Jenniskens at NASA Ames Research Center announced that Earth was due for an encounter with debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR. Streams of dust ejected by the comet mainly back in the 1800s would cross Earth's orbit on May 24, 2014. The result, they said, could be a significant meteor outburst.

Or it could be a complete let down, scientists say. We suppose there's only one way to find out.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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