Rare meteor shower falls short of expectations
A shooting star in the sky on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (INSTAGRAM/terryrosema)
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, May 24, 2014 12:17PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 24, 2014 1:34PM EDT
The much-hyped Camelopardalid meteor storm expected on Saturday morning turned out to be a no-show in most parts of North America, prompting plenty of social media chatter from those who stayed up for the event.
NASA is just like the cable company. Give us a 2-hour window and then leave us hanging #meteorshower— Michael Collins (@GaSportsCraze) May 24, 2014
Unlike the annual Perseid meteor shower, which often brings as many as 100 meteors per hour, the Camelopardalid meteor shower was the first of its kind. That made it difficult for experts to predict exactly what it would look like.
Leading up to the event, most estimates pegged 2 to 4 a.m. ET as the primetime window for skywatchers to see a 200-meteors-per-minute light show.
But the peak was closer to midnight, according to Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environmental Office.
“A lot of them were a little bit earlier than thought,” Cooke said in a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca on Saturday.
The meteor shower peaked at around 40 to 50 meteors an hour, Cooke said.
“Certainly not a storm, and not 100 per hour, but it was better than nothing,” he said.
Social media was full of disappointment on Saturday morning as many bleary-eyed stargazers took to Twitter to complain about the poor showing.
NASA experts were careful to temper expectations leading up to the event.
“There could be a great show, or there could be little activity,” Cooke had said in a statement earlier this month.
Experts simply had no previous data to make informed projections.
But it wasn’t a total dud. Some patient sky-watchers managed to snap a few shooting star pictures.
Cooke said on Saturday that it’ll be another 10 years before the Camelopardalids come around again. By that point, NASA will have a better sense of what to expect after it reviews this occurrence.
“It’ll take a few days to get all the data sorted out,” Cooke said.