On Oct. 8-9, European sky watchers were amazed when a flurry of faint meteors filled the sky at midnight. It was an outburst of the annual Draconids meteor shower. Turns out, that outburst was just the tip of the iceberg. Computer models show that Earth narrowly missed two streams of comet debris that would have caused significant meteor storms had they intersected our planet. These conclusions are based on a computer model of the comet’s debris field from the University of Western Ontario’s Meteor Physics Group. Here it is, showing Earth shooting the gap between two filaments of comet dust:
It could easily have been 10 times more impressive. In fact, Earth narrowly dodged a meteor storm.
The European outburst occurred as Earth skirted a filament of debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour.
Complete story at spaceweather.com
via Watts Up With That?
October 13, 2018 at 01:50PM