You have to see the most unpredictable peak of the meteor shower this week

The Draconids it is the dark horse of the annual meteor showers. Usually, they don’t have the same brilliant display as the Perseids, but there’s always a slight chance this year will be different. Every once in a while, the Draconids appear and appear with a “storm” during which you may see several meteors every hour. And this year’s opportunity for something truly rare is upon us: Gaze at the skies during peak night on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9.

The Moon will try to take the Draconian limelight this year as it is still in its waxing phase. But the meteor shower is always interesting because of the history of the origin of comets, as NASA explains.


The Draconids, like all meteor showers, are created when streams of interplanetary dust essentially collide with Earth during our planet’s orbit around the Sun. The dust in question is usually the debris left behind by comets (frozen snowballs) or asteroids (space rocks). When Earth and the dust cloud meet, the results are generally harmless, often spectacular meteor showers, which ignite trails of light as the meteors enter and burn up in our atmosphere.

When we see shooting stars or meteor showers, we see the volatile history of the Solar System in action. Comets and asteroids have been around in the Solar System for longer than planets. The Sun’s gravitational force over the ages causes these small worlds to break apart and leave a trail of dust in their wake. This dust becomes our natural light from the heavens.

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, the origin of the Draconids. Reinhold Wittich/Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images


According to EarthSky, the Draconids (previously called the Jacobinids) were not reported until the 21st century.

The comet that creates the meteors was found on December 20, 1900 by the French astronomer Michel Giacobini. Then, in October 1913, German astronomer Ernst Zinner reconfirmed the comet’s existence. As a result, the comet now has two names: 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. It has a 6.6-year orbit around the Sun and will make its next closest approach in March 2025.

The comet was found at a time in the history of science when astronomers were learning how meteorites and comets are related. And interest was boosted by at least two Draconid spectacles in the mid-20th century, when the dust stream was placed advantageously in Earth’s orbit.

“During its peak in 1933, 500 Draconid meteors appeared per minute over Europa. 1946 was also a good year for Draconids, with 50-100 sightings per minute over the US,” NASA reports.


The meteors appear to originate from the head of Draco (the Dragon), which is best visible in the northern hemisphere. “Draco” here refers to the International Astronomical Union’s designation of this celestial region, by the way. you may have a different designation in your country or culture.

While Draco is hard to find, you can get pretty close if you look for Ursa Minor or Ursa Minor in the sky. It is not very important to find the constellation exactly, especially since the brighter meteors tend to appear farther away than the radiant. Your biggest obstacle will be the bright Moon, but it should set after midnight and allow a few hours of clear viewing.

To see what meteors you can, go outside around 2 a.m. local time and give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the dark. You don’t need to bring telescopes or binoculars, although you may want a lawn chair and something to wear to stay warm.

The key is to relax and maintain your night vision for the best chance of seeing meteors. If you must use a sky map, use red filters or tape to cover your lens or phone.

The streak of a meteoriteShutterstock


This year is not supposed to be a great year for the Draconids, mainly because its parent comet is not close to Earth in its orbit right now. EarthSky reports that the show generally produces about five meteors per hour in these conditions. So the key will be patience.

Fortunately, other meteor showers are a bit richer than the Draconids usually are, so consider this practice.


The next meteor shower will be the Orionids, which peak on Friday October 21 and generally produce a good show. Another one to look out for is the Leonids, which peaks on Thursday, November 17 and usually produces bright meteors for your viewing pleasure.

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