NSU Astronomers Predict Meteor Shower Outbreak and Record Return of Near Earth Comet

On September 11, 2018, Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner passed the Earth’s orbit point closest to the Sun and was at a relatively short distance from the planet (58.6 million km). This caused the comet to reach a seven star magnitude of brightness, which meant it was almost observable by the naked eye. Most comets that can be observed with the naked eye are not in the visible part of the sky. However, some comets can be observed with a slight magnification. The Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner is notably visible with telescopes and binoculars, and has become a good subject to photograph. Mikhail Maslov, a leading engineer at the NSU Observatory, was able to capture it.

The picture clearly shows the green comet and its wide dust tail. During this period, she moved along the Milky Way and passed alongside many interesting deep space objects. The Comet is currently moving away from the Sun and the Earth. It will retain good visibility for observation in Russia in October, although it will gradually sink further and further south.

A known Draconid meteor shower is also associated with this Comet. According to Maslov’s calculations, this provided an outbreak of activity on October 8 at about 23 o'clock universal time (6 in the morning on October 9 in Novosibirsk). The scientist’s forecast was confirmed, the parameters for the outbreak activity are still being clarified. NSU has been conducting studies of meteor showers on two cameras in continuous mode since 2015. University Observatory experts were also able to photograph a time-lapse of the total eclipse of the supermoon.