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April 14, 2014 | by Dan McKernan

A new atmospheric model suggests Earth is on a collision course with several debris trails from Comet 209P/LINEAR on May 24, the eve of the inaugural StarLight Festival in Big Bear. Astronomers from NASA and Russia have forecasted the comet's debris could produce 100 to 400 meteors per hour. It could potentially reach 1,000 meteors per hour creating a rare meteor storm that could produce one of the greatest celestial fireworks displays in more than a decade. The StarLight Festival in Big Bear, coincidentally is happening the same weekend of the potentially rare meteor storm. 

"It's a special bonus for our attendees; I guess stars do align," said StarLight Festival Event Producer Amy Vasquez "This unusual meteor storm should be a great kick start to a great astronomy festival."

Big Bear is one of the top spots to watch meteors in Southern California because there is minimal to no light pollution, which is why the mountain resort is host to the inaugural StarLight Festival Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25. It is predicted the best time to watch Comet 209P/LINEAR meteor storm is Saturday, May 24 from 12 midnight till dawn. Festival goers are encouraged to get a head start on the StarLight Festival by driving up to Big Bear on Friday, May 23 to see this dramatic display of shooting stars.

The two-day festival that combines science and astronomy with art and music takes place in Big Bear Village with activities happening at Northwoods Resort. Some of the highlights include guest speakers and panelists from NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) such as Dr. Story Musgrave, United States Hall of Fame Astronaut and Dr. Linda Spilker, JPL Scientist who is best known for her work with the Cassini Mission of Saturn.

Other activities happening at the festival include life-size interactive robots on display, lectures about current space programs, opportunities to tour the Big Bear Solar Observatory, "sidewalk" astronomers, STEM educational activities, intergalactic-style art exhibits, live music, and thousands of dollars in door prizes. Major manufacturers will display the latest and greatest scientific equipment. Also, there is a special performance by Jefferson Starship happening at The Cave Saturday evening for a separate admission fee.

The StarLight Festival is Saturday, May 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Big Bear Village. Lectures and panel discussions are held at Northwoods Resort. Admission to the StarLight Festival is Free. For details about the StarLight Festival including a schedule of events visit

For all there is to see and do in Big Bear, to make lodging reservations or request a free Visitors Guide log on to or call 800-424-4232.

April 14, 2014

News tag(s) { Families/Children Free Activities/Events Special Events }

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