Clear skies predicted for much of Ohio should make for prime viewing for a meteor shower early Saturday
CLEVELAND -- The weather is cooperating for a meteor shower that could create a show worth staying up for right over Ohio.
"You may see the meteors actually coming almost like snowflakes right out of the sky," said research astronomer Jay Reynolds.
Reynolds says a dust cloud left behind from Comet 209P/Linear could create three or four, or even hundreds more, shooting stars each minute.
"This could be so special. A rare, one shot. Something where meteors are just flying out of the sky. That could be so awesome," he said. "And it's free, so how do you beat that?"
It could be special, but it could also be a dud. Since the comet was discovered in 2004, no one knows what kind of dust stream it left behind. It will be about 7.6 million miles from Earth on Saturday.
Reynolds says the secret to catching these shooting stars is your position and your patience. You're best in a beach chair that reclines, with your feet facing the north star and your eyes looking upward.
Then you watch and wait. It's best to give it at least 15 minutes to see something before giving up.
"At 1 a.m. we'll be facing directly into it," said Reynolds. From then through sunrise is expected to be the peak of the storm, with all the shooting stars appearing out of the northern sky.
If you can find the Big Dipper, look east to the North Star. The Camelopardalids, the so-called "giraffe constellation" you're looking for, is just below it.
"This one, it could be a dud. It could be great. It could be raining. I don't know. ... I say go outside, have a look. It's a gorgeous night outside, what do you have to lose?" said Reynolds.
You don't have to leave your own yard to see it. Dark areas are certainly better for viewing. So if you're in your driveway, stand in between street lights, said Reynolds.
In your backyard, avoid any ambient light from the ground. The experts say the final word on this is keep your expectations low but don't miss it. It could be once in a lifetime.
The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association is hosting a star-gazing party overnight at Letha House Park in Medina County. The address is 5800 Richman Road in Chatham Township.
Observatory Park in Geagua County is also open for a public viewing.
Watch a live webcast below: