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According to researchers the tiny meteoroits that streaked through Earth’s atmosphere for a few hours on Feb. 4 represent a previously unknown meteor shower. The “shooting stars” arrived from the direction of the star Eta Draconis, so the shower is called the February Eta Draconids (FEDs).The comet that produced the meteor shower is unknown. It may have last zipped by the sun just a few hundred years ago, or many thousands. At that time, the comet released a cloud of dust, which is now making its own way around the sun. FEDs discoverer Peter Jenniskens teamed up with a colleague, Finnish astronomer Esko Lyytinen, to investigate when the FEDs might have another encounter with Earth.
Lyytinen calculated a possible return in 2016 or 2023, and after that not again until 2076. According to Bill Cooke,head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala, chances are very small that the comet will actually hit us, as such impacts are rare in Earth’s history.
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