Large Meteor Outburst Anticipated This Month!
Scientists are anticipating a large meteor outburst this month. On October 8, 2011 Earth will pass through the dust trail of the Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which is the cause of the outburst. Meteor Watchers in the Middle East, parts of Europe and northern Africa will be best positioned for this potentially big show!
The comet Giacobini-Zinner makes it’s way into the inner solar system approximately every 6.6 years. Each time it circles the sun, it leaves a trail of dust. Once in a while, the Earth will pass directly through one of these trails and when that happens, we have the potential so see a great deal of meteors. Scientists think that the Earth will pass directly through one of these dust trails on October 8, 2011. This direct hit could produce up to 750 to 1,000 meteors per hour!
This meteor shower is known as the Draconid Meteor Shower because the meteors will appear to originate from the Constellation Draco. Draco (which is latin for Dragon) is a constellation in the northern sky and can be found by Ursa Minor.
There will be a problem seeing all of these potential meteors this year though. There will be an almost full moon to deal with during the night in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The light of the moon will wash all but the brightest of these fireballs out. In North America, it will be daylight when the Earth impacts the comet’s dust trail – so those of you living in North America won’t be able to see a thing!
So those of you who do happen to be out at night in Europe, Africa and the Middle East on the night of October 8th, let us know what you see.