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Clear Skies, As Region Expected To Get Meteor Show

Reported: May. 23, 2014 4:18 PM EDT
Updated: May. 23, 2014 10:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Sean Delancey) -- The Mountain State is in the perfect position for a meteor shower early Saturday, and one Kanawha County group is very excited to see it.

Astronomers say a comet, known as 209P Linear, just raced past earth and now our planet is approaching the debris it left behind.

The Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society said the earth hasn't passed through this meteor field in more than 200 years, and the resulting shower should be a site to behold.

"Normally, a meteor shower has maybe one to four meteors per hour,” KVAS President Robert Fostick said. “We may see up to 1 to 4 meteors per minute."

That is called a meteor storm.

The KVAS often tracks celestial events with a 600-pound telescope housed at the Breezy Point Observatory at Camp Virgil Tate near Cross Lanes.

But not this time.

"You don't need this telescope to see it with,” observatory director Robert Waugh said. “In fact, the best thing is your eyes."

Frostick said the meteors streaking across the sky will most likely be the size of a grain of sand. It’s a far cry from the softball-sized meteor that flew over southern West Virginia last week.

Frostick said he hopes it will happen again.

"Expect? No,” he said. “ Hope? Yes. I'd love to see something like that happen."

The show is expected to peak about 3 a.m., and. if you can stay up, it should be fun for the whole family

"Just sit back in a dark spot, and watch it unfold," Waugh said.




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Clear skies predicted for much of the region should make for prime viewing for a meteor shower early Saturday.

That's when our planet will pass by debris from Comet 209P/Linear. The dusty debris is what creates the meteor shower. Scientists believe the shower could produce three, four or more -- possibly a few hundred more -- shooting stars per minute.

Experts said the shower should peak from around 2 a.m. until nearly dawn. The show will be visible to the naked eye throughout North America.

Comet 209P/Linear was discovered in 2004. It will be about 7.6 million miles from Earth on Saturday.

The shower's name is Camelopardalids. It's named after the giraffe constellation in the northern portion of the sky, near the north star of Polaris. For best viewing conditions, head away from city lights and find a dark location.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

-- Photo: NASA file footage of Geminids shower



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