There’s nothing quite as mesmerizing as watching meteors strike across the night sky. On October 7th stargazers will be looking North for a chance to see the peak of the Draconid meteor shower.
The meteor shower got it’s name Draconid because the collision occurs in the constellation Draco the Dragon. Hundreds of meteors appear to be shooting from the mouth of a dragon. How cool is that?
Usually meteor showers are best seen at dawn, but in the case of the Draconids, you’ll want to look for it after sunset. From sunset to midnight you’ll be able to see meteors shooting in every direction and if you want to get the best possible view, head somewhere with no artificial light, turn northward, and lay down a blanket for a magical display of streaking, cosmic lights.
Back in 2015, YouTuber Jeremy Evans captured a Draconid meteor shower. Check out his video to get an idea of what you’ll be looking at this year:
The cosmology publication, EarthSky, says the waxing crescent moon may take away from the meteor show a bit this year and there are some years when only a handful of meteors pass by each hour. But don’t be discouraged, for the dragon may awake! The Draconid meteor shower has been known to rain down thousands of meteors an hour, like it did in 1933 and 1946. Can you imagine what that would look like? Definitely something you’d never forget.
The meteor shower happens annually when the Earth’s orbit crosses paths with the Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. The debris left behind by the comet collides with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and burns up, giving us the Draconids.
You’ll be able to catch another meteor shower a little later in the month when the Orionid meteor shower peaks around October 21st. It’s a good time of year to be a skywatcher!