Observing Alert – Draconid Meteor Shower Could Unleash A Burst Of Activity On October 8!

Article written: 7 Oct , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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If you live in the Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East area, then keep watching the clock for 17-18:00 UTC when you may be in the right place at the right time for a burst of activity from the annual Draconid Meteor Shower. There’s a possibility you might see up to 1,000 meteors an hour!

As always, meteor showers are unpredictable events – but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared or forewarned. While the gibbous Moon will put a damper on fainter meteor streaks, observers in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. are well situated to catch a strong pocket of activity.

“Meteor showers are as difficult to predict as rain showers. The Draconids have surprised us before, and they may do so again.” says Canadian astronomer Paul Wiegert. “I’d encourage anyone outside on the night of October the 8 to look to the northern skies, just in case.”

This isn’t the first time the Draconid meteor shower has produced a brief storm. In 1933 and 1946 the activity reached an average hourly rate of 10,000. While that’s pretty incredible, the same cometary debris trail left quite a show in the years 1952, 1985, and 1998 when it produced hundreds per hour. These remnants of Comet Giacobini-Zinner aren’t the most dramatic of all showings – but knowing where the meteoroid stream is located makes such predictions valid.

When and where? In this case, start your observations just as soon as the sky gets dark. Since Draco is a northern constellation, those at high latitudes are move favored (sorry, southern hemisphere), so face toward the north and get comfortable. While the storm prediction will happen during daylight hours for North American observers, don’t give up hope! It looks like clear skies for many of us and chances are above average for catching a shooting star.

When opportunity knocks, ya’ gotta’ be there to open the door…

And don’t despair if you don’t live in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, or if you get clouded out. You can still watch and listen to meteors enter the atmosphere on Spaceweather radio. Meteors reflect radio signals as they burn up and you can hear this as eerie whistles and pings.

A similar system, still employing the radio reflection method displays meteors coming in on your computer with a cool graph – The Meteorwatch Live View

And follow Universe Today’s Adrian West on his Twitter feed, VirtualAstro and on his website MeteorWatch as he’ll be providing updates on observed meteor rates in various parts of the world.

For Further Reading: Wiegert’s original announcement via Physorg.com.

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16 Responses

  1. Baris Bicer says

    Aww! I was so excited for this and then I see it’s not gonna happen in the US.

  2. Anonymous says

    Same here, Baris.

  3. Member
    Anonymous says

    I’ll be out there anyway! B-cuz as Tammy mentioned, “…chances are above average for catching a shooting star.” AND the predicted meteoroid stream might be slightly ‘off’ the predicted timeline ~~~~~~* ?

  4. Member
    Anonymous says

    I’ll be out there anyway! B-cuz as Tammy mentioned, “…chances are above average for catching a shooting star.” AND the predicted meteoroid stream might be slightly ‘off’ the predicted timeline ~~~~~~* ?

  5. Anonymous says

    Clouds cover the sky in Germany. Damn it.

  6. Anonymous says

    Clouds cover the sky in Germany. Damn it.

  7. Mary Lesley says

    Does it come on Yanbu? Its in the middle east!

  8. Mary Lesley says

    Does it come on Yanbu? Its in the middle east!

  9. Gore Gogore says

    OK, i just cameback in my house after watching the enormous number of 1 meteor. OK, it was brighter than any star , but still, compared to other years it was dissapointing. The sky was invaded fast by clouds in Europe, being lighted by the bright Moon from above made it 10 times worst for observations 🙁 Hope you have better luck than me 🙂

  10. Stefan Lamoureux says

    We are in southern Finland (Turku) and last night was clear skies and picked a good spot where Moon was behind the threes in the south-east and view of a lake for the north. We took a series of fotos (aprox. 600 pict) and 5 of them had a streak of a meteor… so not much for the draconids, but to our surprise, we started to see northern light and we are making this nice time lapse of them. Will be soon on our web site.
    Links through space on blogger. Its was very nice , VERY NICE!!!

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