Weekend Meteor Shower Could Be Meteor Storm

But timing is lousy for North America on Saturday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2011 5:05 PM CDT
In this 2009 photo, a meteor is seen over the Mojave Desert.   (AP Photo/AstroPics.com, Wally Pacholka)

(Newser) – It's like a space tease: The normally tame Draconid meteor shower is expected to be unusually intense on Saturday, but viewers in North America look to be largely out of luck. As of now, the shower is expected to peak in daylight hours from 3 to 5pm ET, though a NASA forecaster suggests looking skyward during the evening in case the timing is off, reports AP. (Europe may not have much better viewing because of a full moon.)

It will be shame if so because the Draconids—which typically have rates of 10 to 20 meteors an hour—might have hundreds or perhaps thousands an hour this year, an astronomer tells National Geographic. That has scientists casting a wary eye toward the International Space Station. "However, other than avoiding spacewalks, there isn't much the space station can do to avoid such hazards, aside from hoping the damage is minimal," adds the astronomer.

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