October 07 — The Draconids Meteor Shower

I have absolutely no discoveries or launches to mention today, and October the 7th is rapidly slipping away, so I will quickly take the opportunity to mention that the Draconid meteor shower will be reaching peak activity tomorrow night.  The Draconids are the first of October’s two main showers (the other being the Orionids in a couple of weeks).

The Draconid Radiant (image: Stellarium)

The Draconids are the dust produced by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (they are also occasionally known as the Giacobinids) a periodic comet discovered in 1913, and visited by the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spececraft in 1985.

What you can expect to see in terms of numbers of meteors (the zenithal hourly rate) is hard to say for the Draconids.  They are wildly varied from year to year.  Last year it reached up to 150 per hour, and 100 is not uncommon.  Every so often there is even a “storm” (there were huge storms in 1933 and 1946, and more recently a fairly strong one in 2012).  This year the rumours are of another good year, but nothing is certain.