Draconids: Meteor shower peaks this Saturday night

A heavy rain of meteors, the draconids, is scheduled for this Saturday night, the 8th, across the Hemisphere […]

A heavy rain of meteors, the draconids, is scheduled for this Saturday night, the 8th, across the Northern Hemisphere, it is estimated that the peak will be between 20 and 22:00 in mainland Portugal.

According to the online meteorology forum MeteoPT.com, in recent days the meteor shower has already been seen.

However, on Saturday night, when the peak of this “star shower” is expected, the moon, which is in a crescent phase, makes the sky very bright and luminous, which could make it difficult to see this astronomical phenomenon in Portugal.

"Predictions of these things often fail and give rise to many disappointments and draconids should be no exception," comments one of the blog's contributors. "But it's always worth trying to see what it will be like this time if you don't want to miss something special."

This meteor shower is called a “draconid storm” because they seem to radiate in all directions from the constellation Dragon.

Investigators from around the world are gathered this Saturday, in numerous European places, to observe what many consider to be “the perfect star storm”.

The phenomenon will be followed by a high definition camera installed on a stratospheric probe globe launched by the Complutense University of Madrid.

If the weather conditions allow a good observation, the phenomenon translates into more than 500 “shooting stars” per hour (actually it's not about stars, but about meteors). Visible or not, the activity of the Saturday “storm” will be up to seven times greater than that of the popular “Perseids” or “Tears of S. Lourenço”, which are produced each year on August 11th.

It will be the most intense shower of shooting stars since 2002 and will not be repeated as intensely in the next 10 years

But these meteor showers, which delight astronomy lovers and scholars, can be a headache on other levels.

NASA – the American space agency – has begun to assess the risks for Earth-orbiting satellites and spacecraft, such as the International Space Station (ISS), due to the powerful meteor shower that is expected to hit the planet on 8th October.

The website noticias.terra.com.br recalls that “this phenomenon occurs in the autumn of the northern hemisphere, it will last seven hours and should be especially violent”.

NASA can even redirect the ISS. William Cooke, of the Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Alabama), linked to the space agency, said experts predict heavy rain and expect a spike of several hundred meteors an hour.

Two other heavy rains occurred in 1985 and 1998, but they did not cause problems for satellites and spacecraft in orbit. This time, the probability of problems is not high either.

However, Cooke says prevention is important and that the next storm shouldn't be ignored.

According to Cooke, the ISS has a shield against space rocks and, if necessary, can be redirected. The same applies to the Hubble telescope. The scientist encourages programmers to determine whether it is necessary to prepare defense strategies.

“If a sporadic meteor hits you, it's bad luck. If this occurs during a meteor shower, it is negligence», says the scientist.

 

Read more about this topic at http://www.meteopt.com/forum/astronomia/forte-chuva-de-meteoros-dia-8-de-outubro-de-2011-a-6068.html#post299809

 

And also see the video in our video gallery

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Researchers from all over the world gather Saturday, in numerous European places, to observe what many consider to be “the perfect star storm”.

The phenomenon is followed by a high definition camera installed in a stratospheric probe globe launched by the Complutense University of Madrid.

The shower of stars known as the “draconid storm” takes place on Saturday between 18pm and midnight. If weather conditions allow for good observation, the phenomenon translates into more than 00 shooting stars per hour. However, the moon is in a crescent phase and the sky is very bright until Wednesday.

Visible or not, the activity of the “storm” on Saturday will be up to seven times greater than that of the popular “Perseids” or “tears of S. Lourenço”, which are produced each year on 11 August.

It will be the most intense shower of shooting stars since 2002 and will not repeat itself so intensely for the next 10 years.

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