Over a dozen star gazers traveled up to the clear skies of the Camp Verde area on Friday, May 23, 2014 with the anticipation of a grand meteor shower. Scientists reported that on early Saturday, the planet would pass by debris from Comet 209P/Linear. The dusty debris is what creates the meteor shower. Scientists believed the shower could produce three, four or more, possibly a few hundred more, shooting stars per minute.
North American sky-gazers were promised the best views. The shower would peak from around 2:00 A.M. time until nearly dawn. Comet 209P/Linear is a dim comet that orbits the sun every five years. It was discovered in 2004. Meteor showers vary in intensity. Some produce more meteors than others. It was predicted that all of Comet 209P/Liners’ debris trails from 1803 through 1924 would intersect Earth’s orbit, producing hundreds of meteors per hour.
Aside from a cloudy night, a meteor watcher’s worst enemy is a bright moon that can wash out all by the brightest meteors. However, the moon on the night of May, 23, 2014 was not present until about 3:45 A.M and did not affect the meteor shower.
The group gathered at the Clear Creek Cemetery for the meteor watch, and set up their watch in a circle of chairs near the grave site of a longtime friend and ghost hunter. Ghost stories and theories were discussed as the evening grew dark—and much colder. After a stroll around the historic cemetery and an investigation of the Clear Creek Church, the sky watch continued. Only a few small meteors in the distance were detected with one large fireball witness seen close by.
A handful of investigators decided to tough it out and spend the remaining early morning hours in the shelter of the warm Clear Creek Church. Settling for the comfort of the wooden pews, the night owls continue EVP sessions from earlier in the evening and watch the moon rise in the eastern sky about 3:45.
Footsteps, cold spots, and the sound of children (the old church was also used as a schoolhouse from time to time) were experienced and being analyzed. Several members of various paranormal organizations attended the event. A big thanks goes out to the Verde Valley Spirit Seekers for organizing the meteor watch.
For more information on upcoming meteor showers go to: www.amsmeteors.org