Another annual meteor shower is set to start up this weekend! The Draconid meteor shower will be active through October 10th, although the best night for viewing is expected to be Monday, October 8th.
The Draconid meteor shower tends to be quieter compared to other annual showers, but this year could be different! That’s because the parent meteor that releases the meteors into our atmosphere, recently passed by its closest position to Earth in its path. That means we could be set up for a better show than average.
There are a few other factors that will help out viewing too. Skies will be mostly clear at night through this weekend and early next week. The moon is also approaching its new moon phase, so it won’t be producing much of a glow to cover up any meteors.
So, when and how can you try to view the shower? You can start looking in the evenings this weekend, but your best chance of actually seeing a meteor will be at the shower’s peak on Monday. The radiant point for this shower (the constellation Draco) will rise early in the evening making meteors easier to spot, but you still need to wait for it to be dark enough to see them. Going out between 7PM and 12AM Monday evening, away from city lights, is the best way to try to see a Draconid.
The Draconid shower typically only produces about 5 meteors an hour and the core of its path will fall over the eastern coast. With that in mind, be patient and prepare for not catching any meteors this time around. If you miss the Draconids, you can just wait for the Orionids meteor shower! The Orionids will peak the weekend of October 20th.