Possible new meteor shower from Comet 209P/LINEAR

P. Jenniskens, SETI Institute et. al. report that a new meteor shower may be visible for observers in the United States and southern parts of Canada between 2014 May 24d 06h03m and 8h09mUT, with peak activity most likely between 6h33m and 7h49m UT.

The new shower is anticipated because the orbit of the Jupiter-family comet 209P/LINEAR (period 5.03 years) has gradually moved closer to the earth’s orbit, and the earth will have an exceptionally close encounter with the comet itself in late May at a minimum distance of 0.0554AU. Moreover, the earth will pass the comet’s orbit near perihelion, where most past dust ejecta are concentrated in a relatively small region of space.

Whether or not a meteor shower will be visible depends on the unknown past activity of this now-weakly-active comet, long before it was first detected in 2004. If the shower manifests itself, then meteors will radiate from R.A. = 125 deg, Decl. = +78 deg (equinox 2000.0), in the constellation Camelopardalis and will have a slow apparent entry speed of 19.4 km/s. A summary of more-recent prediction modelling and a tool to calculate the best local times for viewing this event can be seen at URL http://meteor.seti.org.

Local observations are urged in view of this possible new activity, especially in the early morning hours between 3am and dawn on 24 May 2014.