Monday, June 10, 2013

2011 Meteor Shower Deposits Ton of Material On Earth

June 6, 2013 — About a ton of material coming from comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, during the Draconid Meteor Shower, was deposited in the Earth's atmosphere on October 8th and 9th, 2011 during one of the most intense showers of shooting stars in the last decade, which registered an activity of more than 400 meteors per hour.

With more than 400 meteors per hour, the 2011 Draconid meteor shower was one of the most intense meteor showers in the last decade. (Credit: © F. Pruneda)
Every 6.6 years, the comet Giacobini-Zinner circulates through the inner solar system and passes through the perihelion, the closest point to the Sun of its orbit. Then, the comet sublimates the ices and ejects a large number of particles that are distributed in filaments. The oldest of these particles have formed a swarm that Earth passes trough every year in early October. The result is a Draconid meteor shower -- meteors from this comet come from the northern constellation Draco -- which hits Earth's atmosphere at about 75,000 km/h, a relatively slow speed in comparison with other meteoric swarms.

A study shows that in the evening from October 8th to 9th 2011, the Earth intercepted three dense spindles of particles left behind by the comet when it crossed through the perihelion.

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Sources: Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), .

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