And if I already had my House In The Middle Of Nowhere, I’d actually have a chance at seeing one of these…
2000-Year-Old Meteors to Rain Down on August 31, 2007
Peter Jenniskens, Ph.D.
Meteor Astronomer, Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute
SPACE.com Thu Aug 23, 10:30 AM ET
The meteors that are about to rain down in the early morning of September 1 date from around 4 A.D., the latest calculations show.
It is not often that we can tell when a shooting star was first released from a comet into space, to travel as a meteoroid in an orbit around the Sun, and finally collide with Earth’s atmosphere to shine as a meteor for our enjoyment. Most meteors that sporadically flash across the sky on a dark moonless night date from anonymous times. Only in recent years have we learned to trace young meteor showers, just a few revolutions old, to their date of origin.
The oldest such shower, but only one revolution old, is due in the early morning of September 1, 2007. Our calculations indicate Earth is about to cross the dust trail of comet Kiess, a comet that takes some 2000 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. The trail is very narrow, so Earth will be hosed by meteoroids for only about an hour and a half. The meteoroids will approach from the direction of the constellation Auriga, the charioteer, in the north-eastern part of the sky, causing a meteor shower called the “Aurigids.”
If you spot one of those meteors, you may be only the fourth person alive who is known to have seen this meteor shower. In recent times, the shower was spotted in 1994 by two observers and in 1986 by one observer.
If you are lucky enough to catch a picture of an Aurigid meteor using your digital camera, you will be the very first to do so.
The shower is visible from only part of the world. If you live in the western parts of the USA, Canada and, including and , you might spot an Aurigid meteor. Plan to step out around 4 A.M. PDT in the early morning, warmly dressed with a blanket wrapped around your shoulders, away from city smog, with the Moon behind an obstruction, and with a wide view on the sky. Gaze up at the sky, waiting, and you may spot one of these elusive bits of matter that Comet Kiess lost 2000 years ago.
This is your only chance to see this shower; the dust trail is not going to hit again in our lifetime….