2012 Draconid Storm Samples

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The 2012 Draconid Storm Potentially Sampled by NASA ER-2 Aircraft

NASA JSC’s Cosmic Dust Collection Program has made special attempts to collect dust from particular meteor showers and asteroid families when flights can be planned well in advance, and very occasionally on short notice. Radar measurements obtained by the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar during the 2012 Draconid shower indicated a meteor storm occurred with a peak at λΟ = 195.622° or 16:38 (±5 min) UT on Oct 8, 2012, of total duration ~2 hours (Source: Peter Brown). Draconids, originating from comet Giacobini-Zinner, have one of the slowest atmospheric entry velocities (23 km/s), and thus offer significant possibilities of successful dust capture in the stratosphere.

Large and small area cosmic dust collectors (LACs and SACs) L2094, L2095, L2096, L2097, U2153 and U2154, were flown from October 15th to 17th, 2012 on NASA ER2 aircraft. Flight time accumulated by date was: Oct.15th - 7.8 hrs, Oct. 16th - 7.3 hrs, Oct. 17th - 8.1 hrs. All collectors were received at JSC in late October 2012. Particles are now being removed, and a subset is receiving routine preliminary characterization. These samples will be available for allocation to qualified investigators. More information may be obtained from the Cosmic Dust Curator and on the Requesting Samples section.