For the second year in a row, reports are emerging about a major peak in the activity of the Draconids meteor shower. Radar observing stations in Canada and in Germany reported up to 1000-2000 meteors/hour between 16h and 18h UT on 8 October 2012. Evidence for an outburst is also apparent in data from some forward-scatter radio stations.

Radio observing systems are only sensitive to the smallest meteoroids, which produce very faint shooting stars. It is not yet clear how many meteors were bright enough to be seen with the naked eye or video cameras. Visual observations around the time of the peak have so far only been reported by Alexandr Maidik in Ukraine (16h00-18h00 UT) and Jakub Koukal in the Czech Republic (17h00-19h10 UT), who are both very experienced and reliable observers. However, the small number of observers, combined with poor sky conditions in Ukraine (limiting magnitude 4.9), makes the resulting ZHR estimates uncertain at present. While both observers detected a clear enhancement in the activity of the Draconids, we warn that the visual ZHR estimates in the graph below may be overestimated.

Click on the graph for further details.

First results of the Draconids 2012

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