On October 8, 2019, the sky was filled with shooting stars. At approximately 11:00, one could look to the north and be filled with wonder at nature’s light show: the Draconid Meteor shower.
After the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner leaves behind dust and particles, the earth passes through the debris, creating a spectacle such as the one witnessed by lucky observers Tuesday night. The resulting phenomenon is known as the Draconid meteor shower, sometimes referred to as Giacobini. It typically occurs in early October, starting fall off with a little bit of extra beauty.
With approximately 5 meteors per hour, it may not be the most eventful shower, however it does is visible to the naked eye. No special glasses needed, no risk of eye damage. All that is required is a little bit of patience and a warm blanket.
Maddy Young ‘20 and her sister Eleanor ‘22 watched the shower together. Maddy noticed, “It wasn’t like every second there was another star to look at, it was slower so you could kind of appreciate it more.”
PA Earth and Space instructor Mr. Dan Hickel also took note of the slowed pace. Hickel expressed his joy for the meteor shower, calling it “the perfect one to watch for budding astronomists because of it is consistently timed occurrence and simple beauty. “I wish more people could know not only
when these spectacular events take place but why”, he lamented.
In Hickel’s words, “even knowing the Draconid shower was merely the earth passing through dust gives us perspective about the smallness of our world compared to the rest of the galaxy.” It’s this kind of perspective that fuels his love of science.
Events such as the Draconid Meteor shower gives one a chance to take a step back and look at the world we live and and appreciate its beauty. Funny how our earth passing through some old dust can have such a wonderful effect on people.