Draconid Meteor Shower Peaks Over Phoenix, Orionids Cue Up

Katie Ramirez
October 8, 2020

The Royal Observatory said: "While most other meteor showers are best seen in the early hours, the Draconids are best seen in the evening, after nightfall".

The Draconid meteor shower is set to reach its peak on Wednesday evening.

Named after the Dragon constellation Draco, the Draconids blaze every year and are one of two meteor showers to light up the skies in October.

The meteor shower is the result of debris from a comet, according to NASA.

It occurs at an interval of fifteen weeks, but in the middle of which are the peaks, which occur on October 7 and October 8 this year. It will peak over 9-10 October and 10-11 November in 2020. "The Draconid meteors are caused when Earth collides with bits of debris shed by periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (and that's why this shower used to be called the Giacobinids)", explains the space agency's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SERVI) on its website.

And although the Draconids only produce about 10 meteors an hour, past years have been marked by so-called meteor storms.

A meteor breaks through the night sky over Rusky Island during the Draconid meteor shower. Yuri Smituk  TASS
The Draconids meteor shower will peak tonight

To see the meteor shower, you do not need any object such as binoculars or telescopes, but it is advisable to move away from population centers and do it in a place where light pollution is as low as possible.

The Draconids are named after the constellation The Dragon and are traces of dust (meteoroids) generated by Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner. This comet takes about 6.6 years to make a single revolution around the Sun. And during tonight's peak, the meteor shower will be most intense. A specialty about this meteor shower is you do not necessarily stay up into the late night to catch a glimpse of them.

It's estimated that around five shooting stars should be visible overhead every hour; the event will be visible in United Kingdom skies.

This meteor shower favours the Northern Hemisphere so you can see it in India as well. NASA even says that the best way to admire a shooting star is with the naked eye.

If you are having trouble locating the constellation, there are several great mobile apps that will scan the night sky and tell you where to look.

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