How to watch tonight’s peak of the Draconid meteor shower

Meteor

Tonight, October 8, is the peak of October’s Draconid meteor shower, also known as Giacobinids. This is a smaller meteor shower than some, but could certainly be worth a look!

Draconids is the name for meteors that originate from the comet Giacobini–Zinner, but they are named after the constellation Draco. Unlike many other meteor showers, they are best observed shortly after sunset, rather than very early morning, but they still require a dark sky.

Even at the peak tonight, there may not be many meteors, perhaps only five or so per hour. Despite this, it could be a great relaxing way to spend the evening looking up at the stars.

Some years, when the Giacobini–Zinner comet is closest to the sun, there may be an outburst of thousands of these meteors in an hour, but with its seven-year orbital period that is not expected again until 2025.

It will be worth checking the cloud cover to see if you’ll have an opportunity to view the meteors before the shower ends on October 10, coincidentally the last day of World Space Week.

This meteor shower is best viewed by those in the northern hemisphere.

While meteors will appear all across the sky, the radiant point of those meteors (or where those meteors will appear to have come from when you trace them back) will be the head of the Draco constellation; hence how they earned their name.

So keep an eye on the sky as it gets dark tonight and let us know if you happen to see any!

Featured image credit NASA/Bill Ingalls

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