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Updated May 19, 2014 - 6:31 am

Meteor shower expected to dazzle Valley skywatchers

PHOENIX -- Keep an eye to the sky this weekend as a dazzling meteor shower is expected to be overhead.

The Camelopardalis meteor shower is expected to be visible overnight Friday into early Saturday morning, said Carl Hergenrother, a science team member on the Osiris Rex Mission at the University of Arizona.

"What we know about this meteor shower is it's the result of a comet that was only discovered about ten years ago," he said.

The shower is caused by Earth passing through a trail of dust and gas left behind as comet 209P/Linear orbits between Jupiter and the Sun. Hergenrother said the comet completes its orbit about every five years, but passing through the wake of dust should create a burst of meteors this time.

"So instead of seeing maybe meteor a night from this particular meteor shower, which is what we saw in the past, there is the potential, not guaranteed, but there is the potential we may see a couple hundred per hour," he said.

Hergenrother said no one is exactly sure what to expect, but the display could be quite spectacular because meteors entering the earth's atmosphere should be traveling at a slower speed that most other showers, allowing the meteors to be visible for longer periods of time.

"In this case (the meteors) are almost 20 kilometers per second, which definitely sounds fast, but actually for a meteor shower that's pretty low," he said. "That's one of the cool things I'm looking forward with this meteor shower."

Hergenrother recommends watching from as dark a location as possible while sitting in a lawn or beach chair facing north, and said the best to watch is around midnight on Friday.

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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