October 8, 2011

Look Up! The Draconids Are Coming!

Mark Thompson, Discovery News

AP Photo

Many of us grew up with the idea that we should make a wish when we see a shooting star. As a child there was something quite magical about the event, but the reality is very different.

Shooting stars, as you probably already know, have nothing to do with stars, instead they are just tiny bits of rock burning up high in the atmosphere, flashing across the sky as they fall to Earth.

Every six years, Comet Giacobini-Zinner completes an orbit of the sun leaving behind a trail of cometary debris. The Earth passes by Giacobini-Zinner's orbit every October and when it does, we experience gentle increase in the number of meteors flashing through the atmosphere.

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TAGGED: Comets, Draconids, Meteorites, Meteors


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