Draconid Meteor Shower Outburst

Taken from Nasa’s Science News Website:

Oct. 4, 2011: On October 8th Earth is going to plow through a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the result could be an outburst of Draconid meteors.

“We’re predicting as many as 750 meteors per hour,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “The timing of the shower favors observers in the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Europe.”

Draconids (comet, 200px)

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in Nov. 1998 photographed by astronomers at Kitt Peak. [more]

Every 6.6 years Comet Giacobini-Zinner swings through the inner solar system. With each visit, it lays down a narrow filament of dust, over time forming a network of filaments that Earth encounters every year in early October.

“Most years, we pass through gaps between filaments, maybe just grazing one or two as we go by,” says Cooke. “Occasionally, though, we hit one nearly head on–and the fireworks begin.”

More…

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