Meteor showers are a recurring theme on this blog, I’ve told you about Perseids, Geminids and Lyrids; tomorrow night on Saturday October 8th 2011, it’s time to see the Draconids. As meteors go, these have a great name, eh?
Every October, Earth passes through trails of space dust resulting in the Draconid meteor shower. Usually these autumnal ‘shooting stars’ don’t put up much of a show because there are so few of them. What makes this year different is that astronomers believe there will be an increase in the amount of meteors. Unfortunately for people in Newfoundland, this ‘enhanced’ activity is expected during the hours before sunset and we are in the middle of the storm season, so there’s a big chance we won’t get to see a thing.
However, if the weather does cooperate, look for the Draconids directly after nightfall, which is at 8 PM for us on the east coast. Meteors will appear everywhere in the sky but your best bet is to look to the opposite side of where the moon is. You see, the moon is so big and bright this week that looking into it will hinder your night vision. In fact, do yourself a favour and get as far away from any bright lights as possible.
Here’s an old drawing of the constellation Draco, if you trace the Draconids back to where they appear to come from, you’ll end up at the dragon’s head:
Usually these Draconids present more of a meteor drizzle, but keep your fingers crossed and this time around they may show us a real meteor shower!