Reporting
Meteor experts around the

Meteor experts around the world are scratching their heads about this one. The Camelopardalid meteor shower was a bust, to put it mildly.

Even under ideal conditions, experienced meteor observers saw fewer than 10 Camelopardalid meteors. Measurements made using radar indicate that many Camelopardalid meteors were simply too faint to see with the unaided eye. They were up there but below the threshold of visibility. I personally saw only two Camelopardalids, although one of them was pretty spectacular -- a long, slow-moving meteor that brightened and dimmed a couple of times as it trailed across the sky.

It is disappointing for us when science makes predictions that are not borne out by reality. In astronomy, it's happened twice this year, first with Comet ISON and now with the Camelopardalid meteors.

These are examples of one of the most beautiful things about science. In the community of science, both successes and failures are always right out in the open for all to see. In pursuit of scientific knowledge, we often learn more from the failures than we learn from the successes. Astronomers accumulated a large amount of data concerning the Camelopardalid meteors and are already analyzing it and learning from it.

You can bet that the next time circumstances suggest a similar meteor shower may occur, astronomers will apply what they have learned from the Camelopardalid meteors. The knowledge gained in May 2014 will make future predictions more accurate.

Jeff DeTray
www.AstronomyBoy.com