And that’s really cool, if you think about it.
Because only some twenty years ago it would have been impossible to predict the Camelopardalids – it took the development of physics-based dust stream models to figure out how the comet’s path was changed and thus its dust particle trail. Chalk this one up as a major win for the math folks who came up with the calculations! It may not have been the celestial firestorm many had wished for, but it was a perfect proving ground for a modeling program that will be incredibly useful in many future dust trail evaluations.
You can watch meteors any night of the year – you don’t have to wait for a named meteor shower. The trick is to find a really dark spot where you can see as much of the sky as possible. A moonless night is obviously best, far away from bright city lights. Lie on your back and scan the dark sky, and sooner or later you will see one of those ghostly streaks. Be sure to give your eyes time to adjust – it takes as much as 45 minutes for your eyes to get used to such low light conditions.
My favorite meteor-watching spot is the beach on Cumberland Island. Life does not get any better than that!
Check out the Camelopardalids gallery at spaceweather.com at http://spaceweathergallery.com/meteor_gallery.html.
Beate Czogalla is the Professor of Theater Design in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Georgia College & State University. She has had a lifelong interest in space exploration and has been a Solar System Ambassador for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/ NASA for many years. She can be reached at email@example.com.