Comet to Pass by Earth Saturday Night After Meteor Shower

perseid-meteor-shower

People across the country may be waking up Saturday and rubbing sore necks as they ask themselves if it was worth looking skyward in the middle of the night for hours.

A unique meteor shower glittered the skies over North America, but judging from social media responses, it appeared to do so sparingly in some places, while delivering a few prize goods elsewhere.

But for die-hard star geeks, there will be an Act II, an even bigger treat, as the last part of the shower — a comet — passes by Earth, beginning Saturday evening.

Whatever the verdict, there will probably never be a second chance for the May Camelopardalids meteor shower. Many showers come annually, in October, December, January and April, said NASA meteor observer Bill Cooke.

In August, for example, we will see the return of the spectacular Perseid meteor shower.

But the Camelopardalid shower, named for the constellation the shooting stars appeared to fly out of, was a rare gift from the planet Jupiter.

The biggest planet in the solar system bent the meteors’ orbit with its powerful gravitational pull so that they would collide with Earth.

“Next year it will tug the debris field away from the Earth, and we won’t see a meteor shower, so this is kind of a one-shot deal,” Cooke said.

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SOURCE:  Ben Brumfield
CNN

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