A reminder that there is the possibility of a strong meteor shower this evening. The Earth may pass through a cloud of debris left by comet 209P/LINEAR. Sky watchers should observe around 21:00 to 22:00HST on the evening of May 23rd.
North America and the North Pacific is favored for visibility. If it occurs the peak will be short and sweet, lasting about an hour. Fortunately for us in the islands this is predicted for mid-evening hours, from 7-8UT on the 24th (21-22HST on the 23rd). Predictions for the shower range from minor to spectacular. The meteors will seem to radiate from a part of the sky occupied by the dim constellation Camelopardalis, thus some are dubbing this shower the Camelopardalids.
For Hawai’i the radiant will be low in the north, about 20 degrees above the horizon, near Polaris. This means that any meteors we see will be hitting the atmosphere at a low angle. Combined with the low speed of the meteors this could lead to very showy bolides streaking across much of the sky.
As with any meteor shower, any predictions are to be taken with a large dose of skepticism. It is important to point out that meteor prediction is not an exact science, rather a bit of an art form. In this case there are any number of unknowns involved, we could see nothing, we could see a true meteor storm. This event could be anything from “meh” to “oh wow!!!”. To their credit, the folks making these predictions have been impressively right on several recent showers.
I would strongly suggest that you at least take an effort to step outside after 9pm on Friday evening and see what the sky has to offer. All you need is a clear dark sky.