Skywatchers in North America may be in for a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower this weekend if the May Camelopardalids light up the night sky early Saturday morning.
As my colleage Deborah Netburn explained, the May Camelopardalids could happen as Earth moves into a debris field left by a small comet named 209P/LINEAR. But nothing is certain. The cloud of comet dust may turn out to be too small, or too sparse, to put on a show.
"That is the big mystery," Jenniskens told the Los Angeles Times.
Even if all goes well, the meteor shower isn't likely to be repeated. That's because Jupiter's gravity will have pulled the debris out of our way by the time Earth reaches this spot next year.