Draconid meteor shower on October 8th 2011 – up to 750 meteors per hour or more pose risk to satellites
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 William Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “The timing of the shower favors observers in the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Europe.”
One respected forecaster, Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario, says the meteor rate could go as high as 1000 per hour — the definition of a meteor storm. It wouldn’t be the first time. Close encounters with dusty filaments produced storms of more than 10,000 Draconids per hour in 1933 and 1946 and lesser outbursts in 1985, 1998, and 2005.
Forecasters at NASA and elsewhere agree that Earth is heading for three or more filaments on October 8th. Multiple encounters should produce a series of variable outbursts beginning around 1600 Universal Time (noon EDT) with the strongest activity between 1900 and 2100 UT (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT).