The peak of the Draconid meteor shower is just a couple of days away! The best part is no waiting around until 3am for this constellation to peak. You can start observing as early as sunset. Now that I have got your attention here is the lowdown on catching some shooting stars this weekend.
WHEN is it?
The peak of the Draconids is on October 8th and 9th this year. The good news is that the constellation will be up before the sun sets so that means as soon as the sun sets you can start searching for meteors! Also moon rise isn’t until after 3am, so you do not have to worry about moon light obscuring your view when figuring out a time to watch the shower. The peak is highly variable, as high as 1000 meteors per hour, but this year it is expected to be closer to 10-20 meteors per hour.
WHERE should you look?
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere you can actually just look up. The constellation Draco the Dragon (where the Draconids get their name from) is actually right next to Ursa Minor meaning it is right by the North Star. So if you are in the souther hemisphere, look in the direction North/NorthEast. If you need further help in mapping out the Sky while you are looking for some meteors check out this post.
WHAT are the meteors made of?
The Draconids are actually the only meteor shower that also goes by its comet’s name. Sometimes this meteor shower is referred to as the Giacobinids, after the short period comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. The debris that comes raining down every early October is the bits of material that the Sun burnt off of this comet and left in the path of Earth’s Orbit. The comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner makes an orbit around the sun every 7 years.
NEXT ON THE LINEUP: The Orionids October 22nd