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HOMEPAGE OBSERVING by Alan MacRobert
Draconid Meteor Outburst: Lots of Radar Meteors, Few Visual
|Update: Despite high hopes, visual reports of meteors were scant. By nightfall in North America the radar outburst was basically over. Even in Europe, where darkness came several hours earlier, few were seen by eye.|
It's 5 p.m. EDT, and I just got off the phone with Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office:
A major outburst of Draconid meteors has been picked up by the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar, starting earlier today at 16h Universal Time. "The radar rates peaked at 2,200 per hour," Cooke told me. "They seem to be on the way down now but are still strong." It's still a higher radar rate than during last year's strong Draconid shower, when many meteors were visible.
Draconid outbursts tend to be very short and intense, lasting just a few hours. If it's dark where you are, go look now! If it's still day, look as soon as darkness falls. Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids are most active in early evening; that's when the radiant, near the head of Draco, is highest.
Please report what you see in the comments section below.
The Draconids (also called the Giacobinids, for the periodic comet that shed them, 21P/Giacobini-Zinner) produced great meteor storms in 1933 and 1946, and lesser outbursts in 1988, 2005, and 2011. But in most years the shower is much sparser or nonexistent.
Posted by Alan MacRobert, October 8, 2012