After weeks of speculation about its intensity, as predicted the Draconid meteor shower happened on Saturday, lasting for several hours and splashing the darkening sky with trails of light.
The initial preliminary counts suggest a peak rate of 660 meteors per hour.
The Draconid meteor shower occurs each October as Earth passes through a trail of dust left by the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which is a member of the Jupiter family of comets, objects that come from the Kuiper Belt, a broad swath of ice-rich orbs beyond Neptune. The comet circles the sun every 6.6 years, and each time it circles, it leaves filaments of space dust behind it.
When the bits of particle dust enter Earth's atmosphere, they burn up, creating streaks of light across the sky. Most Draconids burn up before reaching the ground, and they're slow enough to pose relatively little risk to satellites and spacecraft.
Though NASA had predicted a dazzling display for this year, observers reported that the show was fainter than expected. For the U.S, the strongest activity was in the afternoon in the Central and Eastern time zones. On some continents, a full moon drowned out the view. Unfortunately, many people were under thick clouds and missed the display, but there were a few places where the clouds cleared and observers were treated to a memorable spectacle.