Draconid meteor shower — a great show in 2012?

October 8, 2012

Space Weather says radar suggests a big show, already begun, with 1,000 meteoroids an hour:

DRACONID METEOR OUTBURST UNDERWAY: The CMOR radar in Canada is picking up a major outburst of Draconid meteors commencing at 16 UT on Oct. 8th. “Radar rates are at 1000 meteors per hour,” reports Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “This is greater than last year’s outburst, and 5x the 2005 level.” Cooke encourages northern sky watchers, especially in Europe where night is falling, to be alert for Draconid activity. Because radars are sensitive to very small meteoroids, there is no guarantee that this radar outburst will translate into meteors visible to the human eye. On the other hand, a brilliant display could be in progress. The only way to know is to go outside and look. [CMOR radar data] [sky map] [Submit: reports or photos]
Listen: Tune into Space Weather Radio to hear live Draconid radar echoes.

Can you see these rocks as they burn up?  Or are they too small to make a visible “splash,” even though registering on radar?

Heck, some reports say it’s even more active than that; Sky and Telescope reports up to 2,200 meteoroids per hour.

How to tell?  Go outside and look up!

Draconids are most active in the early evening (other showers tend to be active after midnight).  Look toward the head of Draco the Dragon.  EarthSky.org offers a skymap to help out:

Draconid meteor shower, October 8, 2012 - map from EarthSky.org

Draconid meteor shower, October 8, 2012 – map from EarthSky.org

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