Possible Meteor Storm: May (24th) 2014.

A very dim comet will create, at minimum, a great meteor shower. However, current predictions of 100-400 shooting stars per hour have been creeping up to, possibly, over 1000 per hour (and in meteor storm territory). Meteor showers/storms happen when Earth plows through streams of rock and dust left behind by (usually) comets (and sometimes, even asteroids).

When a comet breaks apart, all of it’s pieces, large and small, continue traveling along the same trajectory/orbit. Some comets orbiting the Sun today are all, more or less, on identical orbits. This is probably because they were once part of a much larger comet that broke up on one of it’s passes in the inner solar system.

The reason I bring this up is because this rule is the same for pieces and particles of all sizes. Inevitably, even with sturdy comets and asteroids, as gravity brings them in towards the Sun, the solar wind pushing outward makes these bodies shed dust, ice and gas. Each orbit, while usually identical, lays a new line of dust in space. Sometimes this trail is on top of several past trails, but usually these trails are scattered such as when we used pictographs as a child. However, some comets have unchanged orbits and the trails build up. Usually, though, the more common “spread out dust trails” give us the annual meteor showers that can easily be predicted. 

This coming meteor shower (or STORM!) is unique. The spot we will hit the orbit of 209P/LINEAR, the meteor storm’s parent body, will be an area of space where several of the comet’s past dust trails intersect. Trails from the past century, dating back to 1763 (I believe that’s the correct year). Pictograph below:



Graphs showing past dust streams Earth may be encountering:



It will be amazing, at it’s weakest. It could be a unique spectacle of a lifetime. Comet 209P/LINEAR is pictured below.Image

Charts showing which orbital streams will be responsible for this near meteor shower/storm:

Space.com article:


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