A BRAND NEW Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight -- Here's How To Watch

Perseid meteor shower duranNatalie DuranA brand new meteor shower could rival the annual Perseids shower in August.

A new meteor shower, called May Camelopardalis, is expected to peak in the early morning hours on Saturday, May 24, with some forecasters predicting more than 200 meteors per hour.

The shower, which happens as Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, has the potential to become a full meteor storm, according to experts at Slooh.

Comet 209P/LINEAR was discovered a little more than a decade ago in February 2004. It makes a full orbit of the sun every five years, but until now, Jupiter’s gravity has always pulled the comet’s debris stream out of Earth’s path. That’s why the meteor shower has never been seen before. For the same reason, scientists don’t know exactly what we’ll see in the sky.

If the debris field is large, it could be a spectacular show that rivals the Perseids in August, which typically produces 100 meteors each hour.

It could also be a snooze-fest. “It all depends on how active the comet was more a century ago,” NASA said in a video. That’s when the streams of dust that Earth is now crossing were ejected by the comet.

The meteor shower gets its name because the space rocks appear to originate from the constellation Camelopardalis, also known as the giraffe, near the north star.

Viewing Times

The best viewing will be between 2 to 4 a.m. EDT, according to NASA. Folks in the Northern Hemisphere will have a better show — provided observers have clear, dark skies away from city lights — because the peak occurs during the nighttime hours.

Observers in the United States and southern Canada will have the best viewing.

“Because this is a new meteor shower, surprises are possible,” NASA said. “Outbursts could occur hours before or after the forecasted peak.”

Astronomers David Asher and Robert McNaught predict a “significant proportion of bright meteors,” and the “possibility of fireballs.”

Where To Watch

If you can’t step outside or weather conditions are poor, Slooh will live broadcast the shower, accompanied by commentary from a handful of meteor experts. The broadcast will begin at 11 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 23.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

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