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A once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower may be on its way

Everything you need to know about the May Camelopardalids meteor shower in one awesome graphic
Will it or won't it? Find out why scientists think we could be in for an amazing meteor shower -- or not

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. 

It's been 10 years since astronmer Peter Jenniskens predicted the event, which could produce as many as 200 meteors per hour. Or not.

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.

For more on the possible meteor shower -- including the best way to see it between midnight and dawn on Saturday -- check out our full infographic about the Camelopardalids.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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