Josep M. Trigo-Rodríguez , José M. Madiedo , I. P. Williams , Joan Dergham , Jordi Cortés , Alberto J. Castro-Tirado , José L. Ortiz , Jaime Zamorano , Francisco Ocaña , Jaime Izquierdo , Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel , Jacinto Alonso-Azcárate , Diego Rodríguez , Mar Tapia , Pep Pujols , Juan Lacruz , Francesc Pruneda , Armand Oliva , Juan Pastor Erades , Antonio Francisco Marín
29 April 2013
On October 8th, 2011 the Earth crossed the dust trails left by comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner during its XIX and XX century perihelion approaches with the comet being close to perihelion. The geometric circumstances of that encounter were thus favorable to produce a meteor storm, but the trails were much older than in the 1933 and 1946 historical encounters. As a consequence the 2011 October Draconid display exhibited several activity peaks with Zenithal Hourly Rates of about 400 meteors per hour. In fact, if the display had been not forecasted, it could have passed almost unnoticed as was strongly attenuated for visual observers due to the Moon. This suggests that most meteor storms of a similar nature could have passed historically unnoticed under unfavorable weather and Moon observing conditions. The possibility of obtaining information on the physical properties of cometary meteoroids penetrating the atmosphere under low-geocentric velocity encounter circumstances motivated us to set up a special observing campaign. Added to the Spanish Fireball Network wide-field all-sky and CCD video monitoring, other high-sensitivity 1/2" black and white CCD video cameras were attached to modified medium-field lenses for obtaining high resolution orbital information. The trajectory, radiant, and orbital data of 16 October Draconid meteors observed at multiple stations are presented. The results show that the meteors appeared from a geocentric radiant located at R.A.=263.0+-0.4 deg. and Dec.=+55.3+-0.3 deg. that is in close agreement with the radiant predicted for the 1873-1894 and the 1900 dust trails. The estimated mass of material from 21P/Giacobini-Zinner delivered to Earth during the six-hours outburst was around 950+-150 kg.