Draconids 2011 outburst

The Draconids is a meteor shower which occurs in early October with different meteor rates each year. The parent body of the meteors is the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner which was first discovered in 1900. The comet belongs to the Jupiter family type comets and has a orbital period of 6.6 years. Several outbursts have been reported in the past, with the ones in 1933 and 1946 being the most famous with 10000 meteors per hour. The most recent one occurred in 2005 but was not expected.

This year the Earth will encounter two different Draconids trails ejected during different perihelion passages of the comet (Vaubaillon 2011, Maslov 2011) .The main outburst will occur at 20h UT and will be caused by meteoroids ejected in 1900 and in 1907. Simulations showed that these meteoroids caused the 1933 and 1946 outbursts. This outburst is expected to produce up to 600 meteors per hour. The second outburst will be caused by older trails ejected during the 19th century and will occur a few hours earlier around 17h UT. The uncertainty of this outburst is due to the limited knowledge of the comet's orbit before its discover. Europeans observers are favoured to watch the Draconids this year, with weather forecasts highlighting the south-east Mediterranean countries.

Several observations have been planned in order to observe the predicted outbursts with the most prominent being the european airborne meteor campaing. We will support this campaing by contacting ground-based observations together with the Greek group from Crete, Greece. Three stations with different sensors (photographic & video cameras, radio) will be established along the island. We wish to acquire information on the activity profile, meteor flux and on the meteors' trajectories and heliocentric orbits if double station observations will be possible.