Saturday, May 24, 2014

Camelopardalid Meteor Shower!

If you came here expecting to see pictures of Camelopardalid meteors, then you're going to be disappointed. I make no apologies for misleading you. Disappointment is a part of life. If you are not used to disappointment, then you are probably:

  • Too young to have experienced how soul-crushingly disappointing life can be.
  • Rich, in which case you don't care because you can probably buy what you missed or substitute it with something else.
  • Living a sheltered life, where the real problems of the world never reach your comfortable little bubble.
  • Indifferent, possibly from watching too much MTV. You are probably a sociopath.
  • Oblivious to what's around you, in which case you're probably not even reading this.
  • Content no matter the circumstances, probably due to brain damage or self-delusion.
If you fit any of the categories above (except, perhaps, the last three), then feel free to thank me in the comments below for presenting you with disappointment.

The weather was lousy across much of the North American continent, but that didn't matter so much because the number of meteors was far below the most commonly reported predictions.

A brief window opened in the cloud cover here at my place during the predicted peak period, so I went outside with a camera to try to catch a few images and to observe. The window closed about 45 minutes after I went out. My tally was one meteor (that was not a Camelopardalid), an airplane, a firefly and an armadillo (which was on the ground).

Those of us who are used to disappointment often learn to make the best of things. We look for the silver lining, even if that lining is made of highly toxic mercury. We take lemons and make lemonade, even if we have a mild allergy to citrus. At any rate, here are a couple of "false positives" that I identified in the few images I got before the clouds took over.  Both of these are satellites.

Not a meteor. The bright star above and to the right of the trail is Deneb, in the constellation Cygnus.

Not a meteor.  The bright star below and to the left is Vega, in the constellation Lyra.

And here is a star trail image composed of the best images before the clouds got too thick:
Star Trails
If I was a conspiracy theorist (which I'm usually not), then I'd say that the hype behind this meteor shower was intended to entice a bunch of amateur astronomers to stay up late. The theory falls apart, though, because I don't know what that would accomplish, unless it was just some cruel joke. Still, if anyone has any ideas how making a lot of folks sleepy, grumpy and disappointed on a Saturday might affect global affairs, please feel free to post your theories in the comments.


  1. Thank you for the report. I have been assuming the predictions were not met since I have been having a VERY hard time finding any news one way or the other. I really appreciate SOMEONE providing SOMETHING!

    1. My pleasure. And if I helped to bring some disappointment into your life, then so much the better!