Annual Draconid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week: How to Watch the Celestrial Show


Draconids are ready for their annual night show set on Oct. 8 and 9 starting at nightfall. Formerly known as Giacobinids, Draconid meteors are named after the constellation Draco the Dragon.

The 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is the comet the causes the Draconid meteor showers. Every six and half years, 21P/Giacobini-Zinner orbits the sun. The Draconid meteor shower happens whenever the Earth comes in contact with the dirt and fragments from the 21P/Giacobini-Zinner route. Unlike other comets, 21P/Giacobini-Zinner creates roughly 10 to 20 showers per hour. However, in 2011, stargazers in Europe reported almost 660 meteors per hour. The meteors were visible even with a bright moon.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for the Draconid meteor shower.

Best place to view: The constellation Draco is located in the uppermost part of the northern sky. Starwatchers in the Northern Hemisphere - United States, Europe, Canada, and northern Asia, will have the best view.

Best place to look: To a human on Earth, Draconids will look as if they are radiating out of the constellation Draco the Dragon. Look for Draco's two brightest stars -

Eltanin and Rastaban. Draconids will appear to be coming out of the Draco's head.

Using the Summer Triangle (Deneb, Vega, and Altair) as a guide will help stargazers locate Draco's two brightest, which are right above the star Vega.

Best stargazing position: The Draconid meteor showers are visible to the naked eye. Lying down on a reclining chair with your feet pointing northward is the best position for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere. Meteor showers are visible even with a bright moon so there is no need to travel to popular stargazing spots.

Binoculars and telescopes will not guarantee higher chances of spotting the meteors. Draconid meteor showers do not last very long, some are just a few seconds long. The 21P/Giacobini-Zinner particles are not as large as other comet's. Their size is not big enough to reach all the way down. Bigger particles are slower-moving and they burn up well in the atmosphere, making it more distinguishable.

The Orionids are also set to make an appearance on Oct. 22, 2015 just before dawn.

ⓒ 2018 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Real Time Analytics