Meteor shower a bust; 'models were clearly wrong'

A predicted "storm" of meteors overnight turned out to be mostly a bust, though some in the Midwest U.S. got a better glimpse of the shower than in the mid-Atlantic.

The Earth was expected to pass through a debris trail left behind a comet that was discovered in 2004 and named Comet 209P/LINEAR. Astronomers predicted anywhere from 100 to 400 "shooting stars" per hour, with a peak from 2-4 a.m. Saturday. Instead, the shower peaked at only around 5-10 meteors per hour, astronomers said.

Carl Hergenrother, an astronomer with NASA, told WGN9 in Chicago the event was a "huge disappointment."

"We were expecting or hoping that we would see at least a couple meteors a minute, maybe at least one meteor a minute," he said. "I'm actually in Tucson, Arizona in my home and I was outside and watched for two and a half hours last night, and even though I did see 16 meteors, that's about normal for an average night for a sky as dark as the one over my house."

Hergenrother continued: "Chances are we just didn't understand what this comet was doing over the last two years, how much dust it produced and where that dust went, so our models were clearly wrong."

However, the sky watching website reported a relatively strong showing of meteors in Toronto, Indiana and through the northern lights of Canada.

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