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Brand new meteor shower not a dud! But not a smashing success either

The first ever May Camelopardalids meteor shower was beautiful, and sparse.

The never-before-seen meteor shower known as the May Camelopardalids was more of a sprinkle than a storm.

The shower peaked late Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning here on the West Coast.

At its height there were five to 10 meteors per hour, according to Tony Phillips of Spaceweather.com. That's not a meteor shower no-show, but it wasn't exactly a celestial spectacle either.

Still, those few meteors that observers did get to see were gorgeous. Originating from pebble-sized bits of debris shed by the comet 209P/LINEAR hundreds of years ago, they were especially slow moving, causing long thin streaks that shot elegantly across the night sky.

"We did definitely pass through the debris stream, it just was not as dense as some forecasters thought it would be," said Phillips.

While five to 10 meteors per hour is a far cry from the 200 meteors per hour some astronomers had predicted, sky watchers still made the best of it.

Karl Battams, an astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory expressed it best in this tweet: "Despite #Camelopardalids not being spectacular, it is still cool to be watching ancient comet debris vaporize in our atmosphere."

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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