On October 7th, the Draconid meteor shower will explode from the mouth of northern constellation Draco the Dragon. It’s an annual meteor shower that occurs when Earth crosses into the orbital path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. What we see as meteors are actually pieces of debris from the passing comet, burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
This year, meteor specialists are predicting that the shower will produce a handful of meteors per hour. Yet, in 2011, Dracnoid produced 600 meteors per hour, so we could be surprised!
Now, will these meteors affect us here on Earth?
History of the event tells us that no, they won’t. Bill Cook, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office (at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama), says that the Dracnoid meteors pose a potential threat to satellites, though. NASA is acting on this by turning satellites with cameras and telescopes away from the oncoming dust storm.
Cook also shared that the International Space Station, on the other hand, will easily be able to withstand the shower.
(Although, he notes that astronauts will not be taking spacewalks during the event.)
But other than a few scrapes on the Space Station, we can expect the Dracnoid meteor shower to play out like it does every year. So no need to run and hide from an impending space attack! Think of it more as one of Mother Nature’s Oscar-nominated flicks you can’t wait to talk about at the water cooler the next day.
So go see Dracnoid: Straight From the Dragon’s Mouth, shooting into skies near you. Friday, October 7th, after sundown. Be there or be square!