Draconid Meteor Shower – see it tonight

If you look in the north western sky tonight just after sunset, the Draconid meteor shower will be visible. You may also be lucky enough to see some over the coming nights too.

It should be visible throughout the night over the next few nights during darkness.

As the Moon is relatively new (6 days), it's only showing a waxing crescent - so it's light won't interfere too much with the meteor display.

The radiant is the approximate position in the sky that the meteors seem to originate from. In the case of the Draconid meteors, these come from the constellation of Draco the Dragon. Look for the Dragon's Eyes, the stars Eltanin and Rastaban - this is closest to the radiant.

Where can I see the Draconid Meteor Shower from?

You should be able to see these from almost anywhere in the northern hemisphere.

Have a look​ at this short video to see where best to look:

It's not as predictable as some other famous meteor showers, such as the Perseid meteors or the Lyrid showers, but it's still worth seeing these wonderful shooting stars.  In 2011 there were over 600 meteors per hour observed.

What causes meteors?​

Meteors are just small pieces of icy debris left by a comet passing through the Earths location in space.  You can read more about how they are formed here.

The majority of meteor showers are named after the constellation that they appear to emanate from - however the Draconids are also known as the Giacobinids, after the person who first discovered the comet that the Draconids came from - Michel Giacobini, a French astronomer - in 1900.

There was another recorded sighting in 1913 by Ernst Zinner, and the comet then became known as 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.

The comet comes orbit lasts around 6 and a half years, but it's really the meteors that it's debris left over that to me are far more fascinating and visible.

The Draconid Meteor Shower Summary

Watch out over the next few nights (October 6-12th), and you may just see some shooting stars you can make a wish upon! 

Let me know if you see any?​

All the best, Mark​


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