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This website only lists information on modern-day comets and meteor showers. The book, however, thoroughly investigates how specific ancient impacts and near misses changed religious beliefs around the world.

Comet 209P / LINEAR



Discovery of Comet LINEAR (209P/LINEAR)

Comet LINEAR could refer to any one of the hundreds of comets discovered by Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) at MIT. It is one of the few systems in the world, which is an automated detection system. A telescope and computers collect, analyze and sort data. The system has detected 2,423 Near Earth Objects (NEOs), including 279 comets.


On February 3, 2004, a moving object was detected by LINEAR in five images. Since it did not have a coma, it was initially classified as a minor planet and given the desgination 2004 CB. On March 30, 2004 Robert McNaught observed a tail developing from 2004 CB (McNaught and Kocer, 2004). It was a comet. It was given the permanent desgination of 209P/LINEAR, on December 12, 2008, after its periodic orbit of 5.04 years was confirmed. It was classified as a Jupiter-Family Comet (JFC). It's next perihelion will occur on May 6, 2014. Its perihelion will be 0.969 AU from the Sun with Earth not far behind (Nakano).


Its next perihelion will be on May 21, 2019.








Meteor Shower or Meteor Storm from Comet LINEAR in May 2014

The list of meteor showers hasn't changed very much over the past several decades. In May of 2014, we may be adding to that list.


Earth will pass .0002 AU from the dust trail of Comet 209P / LINEAR around 7:00 UT/GMT on May 24, 2014 (Jenniskens, 2006). Jenniskens suggested it would cause a meteor shower of a dozen or so meteors. His calculations were confirmed independently (Vaubaillon 2012, Maslov 2013).


According to Vaubaillon, Earth will pass through the dust trail left by Comet 209P / LINEAR during its orbits from 1803 to 1924, but predicted the meteor shower will be much more intense. He suggested there could be anywhere between 100 and 400 meteors an hour. Maslov, although cautiously predicting 100 meteors an hour, had this to say, "It is difficult to estimate expected intensity of the outburst due to the lack of past observed cases of activity from the given comet meteor shower, as well as due to very small size of the comet itself and unknown level of its past activity … and it is very possible that real activity will turn to be much higher. Storm levels are also far from being excluded." Maslov suggested that the vast majority of the meteors will be from the 1898-1919 dust trails.


Other astrophysicists predict around 200 meteors an hour (Ye and Wiegart, 2013). Ye and Weigart believe Earth will travel through the dust trail left by Comet 209P / LINEAR during orbits in 1798, 1803, 1868, 1878, 1883, 1924, 1954, 1964 and 1979. They further suggest that, during its previous apparitions, Comet 209P/LINEAR shed relatively large particles that will result in relatively bright meteors when Earth passes through the dust trails on May 24, 2014. The meteor shower will occur in Camelopardalis, a constellation close to the north celestial pole (Ye and Wiegart, 2013). If it did, the meteor shower would be known as the Camelopardalids.


The best place to observe the expected Camelopardalid Meteor Shower, or meteor storm, will be in the Northwestern United States and Southern Canada away from city lights with a clear view of the northern sky (B. Berard, 2013) around 07:30 GMT / UT (3:30 AM ET / 12:30 PCT). The moon will be a waning crescent, just four days from being a new moon.


comet linear meteor shower radiant


Possible Radant of the Camelopardalid Meteor Shower.

Credit: Stellarium with radiant composited by Kevin Curran




Orbit of Comet LINEAR (209P / LINEAR)

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Comet 209P / LINEAR orbits the Sun once every 5.04 years. It does so at an inclination of 19.15009752391312 degrees.


comet linear meteor shower in 2014


Orbital Path of Comet 209P / LINEAR and Earth

Credit: JPL




Size of Comet LINEAR (209P / LINEAR)

The size of Comet 209P / LINEAR is uncertain. It may be transitioning to a dormant comet (Ye and Wiegart, 2013).