City lights dampen Draconids meteors show

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 14:02

New Delhi: City pollution and lights dampened the hopes of stargazers who could witness only some Draconids meteors streaking across the skies in the wee hours on Wednesday.

Draconids is associated with Comet Giacobini-Zinner (a periodic comet in the Solar System). The comet orbits the sun with a period of 6.6 years.

The brilliant celestial fireworks were, however, seen far away from the city lights. A group of amateur astronomers from SPACE, an NGO working in the field of astronomy, went to astrofort, near Sariska, to catch a glimpse of shooting stars.

Around 15-20 meteors were seen whizzing past the night sky with the naked eyes between 23:30 hrs and 0200 hrs, SPACE President C B Devgun said.

These small rocky javelin shaped fragments entered the atmosphere and burnt up due to friction, forming streaks of light, he said.

Draconids can be witnessed from mid-October each year, with the greatest activity in the second week of October.

Michel Giacobini discovered the comets on December 20, 1900. Another sighting in 1913 added Zinner to the name of the comet, 21P Giacobini-Zinner. It is a periodic comet, which returns every 6 years and 4 months.

Tracking this comet, and noting this October meteor shower, helped astronomers figure out how to predict meteor showers in 1915.

The great Draconid/Giacobinid meteor storms occurred in 1933 and 1946. The comet returned in 1998 as well, and the Draconids picked up that year, but only to a rate of about 100 per hour. In 2011, observers in Europe saw over 600 Draconid meteors per hour.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 14:02

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