Meteor dynamicist Mikhail Maslov predicted that the May Camelopardalids would re-appear in 2019.  In his abstract, he writes: “After an outburst of Camelopardalids shower in 2014, the next interesting year is 2019, when two small outbursts are possible. The first one with ZHR up to 10 is expected from the 1939 trail of the comet 209P/LINEAR at 7h44m UT on 24 May, the second with ZHR up to 5 could be produced by the 1994-2009 trails around 11h UT on 24 May.”


I ventured out on the predicted peak night to a dark sky site south-west of Ottawa.  Unfortunately, the rising gibbous Moon and occasional cloudy periods interfered with observations.  I observed for 2.5 hours, with periods of clear and some clouds (up to 20% in field of view).  Occasionally, the entire sky would cloud over and force me to stop observing, only to clear up a short while later.  Despite the less than ideal night, I saw three Camelopardalids.  The first one was seen almost immediately when I started observing; a long very slow +2 meteor that climbed from Ursa Minor to Draco.  It had a yellow-orange colour and became “nebulous” along its path, much like the CAMs that I saw in 2014!  The direction, path length and velocity all were in good agreement!  Near the end of the first hour, a fainter +4 CAM was seen.  None were seen in the second hour, but a +2 appeared near Kochab at the end of the night.

Although, three meteors from a shower in a session is a small sample, the very slow velocity of the CAMs make them easy to recognize.  Furthermore, the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) clearly detected the activity during the night of May 23/24 at the expected radiant labelled as MCM (see images below).  It appears that the CAMs were indeed active but weaker than they were in 2014, with just a few visible meteors per hour at most.

May 23/24 2019, 05:00-08:10 UT (01:00-04:10 EDT)
Location: L&A County Public Dark Site, Ontario, Canada
(Long: -77.116 West; Lat: 44.559 North)

Observed showers:
May Camelopardalids (CAM) – 08:08 (122) +79
tau Herculids (TAH) – 14:56 (224) +39
Anthelion (ANT) – 17:08 (257) -23
June mu Cassiopeiids (JMC) – 00:12 (003) +51

05:00-06:00 UT (01:00-02:00 EDT); clear; 3/5 trans; F 1.05; LM 6.10; facing NNE50 deg; teff 1.00 hr, temp +12C
CAM: two: +2; +4
ANT: one: +3
Sporadics: three: 0; +2; +4
Total meteors: Six

06:00-07:05 UT (02:00-03:05 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.10; LM 5.83; facing NNE60 deg; teff 1.08 hr, temp +11C
ANT: one: +3
Sporadics: one: +4
Total meteors: Two

07:36-08:10 UT (03:36-04:10 EDT); clear; 2/5 trans; F 1.05; LM 5.55; facing NNE70 deg; teff 0.40 hr, temp +11C
CAM: one: +2
Sporadics: none
Total meteors: One
Break from 07:43-07:53 due to clouds

Clear skies,

Pierre Martin
Ottawa, Ontario


Images credit: Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR)