Home > Ephemeris Program, GTAS Outreach Event, Meteor Storm, Observing > 05/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Possible Meteor Storm overnight tonight

05/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Possible Meteor Storm overnight tonight

May 23, 2014

Ephemeris for Friday, May 23rd.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 9:12.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:45 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:05.

If you want to see a possible meteor storm, go out tomorrow morning and find a dark location.  The meteors will be seen all over the sky, but will seem to come from the north.  The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the Dune Climb with telescopes starting at 10 p.m. tonight, weather permitting, to enjoy the other wonders of the sky while we wait for the meteor storm to start.  Dress warmly, bring a blanket or lounge chair so you can comfortably look up.  The first meteors may show by 1:40 a.m.  but the peak activity is expected about 3 a.m., but that estimate may be off by an hour or more.  Check bobmoler.wordpress.com for cloud and meteor status  from noon  through 4 a.m. if it’s clear.  The latter part depends on getting a decent data signal.  The dunes seem to be the end of the world as far as cell phone service goes.  I might have to climb the dune to get a good signal.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Remember these meteors should be visible from anywhere in the continental United States.  Convert the times to your location.  3 a.m. EDT is 7 hours UT.

Start the evening tonight with a talk by Dr. Tyler Nordgren, astronomer, artist and dark sky advocate at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire at 7 p.m. Afterward he will be signing copies of his beautiful new poster See the Stars from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore featuring the Great and Little Bear constellations and the bluffs of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou Islands.  After that, weather permitting see the sunset from many of the park’s locations, then, for the hardy, settle down for an all night vigil for the possible meteor storm with the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Dune Climb.  We’ll be viewing out the planets and the other wonders of the spring and summer skies as we wait for the meteors to appear.

Camelopardalids Radiant

The expected radiant for the meteors of the May Camelopardalids, the meteors from the comet 209P/LINEAR at 3 a.m. on May 24, 2014. Credit: My LookingUp program.

Camelopardalids B&W

Same chart as above but black on white to save ink if you print it.

Here’s the culprit:  Comet 209P/LINEAR

This May 17, 2014 image of Comet 209/LINEAR is the average of 5, 180-second exposures, taken remotely with the PlaneWave 17″+ Paramount ME+STL-6303E robotic unit of the Virtual Telescope Project. The telescope tracked the comet, so stars are trailing. This comet has the potential to generate an exceptional meteor shower (Camelopardalids) on May 24, 2014. Gianluca Masi / Virtual Telescope Project

Image and caption above from the Planetary Society blog from Bruce Betts:  http://www.planetary.org/blogs/bruce-betts/20140522-one-night-only-a-new-meteor.html.

Want to find the comet?

209P/LINEAR finder chart

Finder chart for Comet 209P/LINEAR for 11 p.m. Note the dates are UT, 11 p.m. the 23rd is 3 a.m. UT on the 24th. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).


Ephemeris of positions for Comet 209P/LINEAR for May 20, 2014 to June 8, 2014 from the Minor Planet Center.

Got to http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/MPEph/MPEph.html to print your own ephemeris for this or any comet.  For purposes of this comet the comet name is: 209P/LINEAR.

All these images may be enlarged by clicking on them.

Note that:

Delta is the distance from Earth in Astronomical Units (AU)

r is the comet’s distance from the sun in AU.

El is the elongation in degrees from the sun

Ph. is the phase angle, not a big deal for comets.

m2 is the magnitude of the comet’s coma.  Comets appear dimmer than their magnitude suggests.


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