Draconid meteor shower 2018: When and where to see Draconids TONIGHT? | Science | News

The annual shower, sometimes known as the Giacobinids, peaked on the night of Monday, October 8.

But with no moonlight tonight, thanks to the darkened New Moon, astronomers hope the Draconids will be incredibly easy to spot.

The Draconids typically produce between five and 10 meteors an hour when they peak.

This year, astronomers Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd, of EarthSky.org, teased the potential outbreak of a so-called Draconid storm.

The asteroid experts wrote: “The Draconid shower is usually a sleeper, rarely offering any more than five meteors per hour. But watch out if the Dragon awakes!

“The Draconid meteor shower produced awesome meteor displays in 1933 and 1946, with thousands of meteors per hour seen in those years.

“European observers saw over 600 meteors per hour in 2011.”

The Draconid meteor shower is one of the less active showers but it features predominantly in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere.

The meteors are the cosmic remnants of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, left behind in the space rock’s orbital path.

Every year, during the first week of October, the Earth passes through this stellar field of debris.

The meteors slam into the planet’s atmosphere at full speed, producing bright flashes of light and meteor streaks across the sky.

When to best see the Draconid meteor shower?

The Draconids are best seen in the evening hours when the skies are darkening enough to pick out individual meteors.

This year, the shower lasts between October 2 and October 16 but is most intense when it peaks on October 8.

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

Where to see the Draconid meteor shower?

The Draconids are best seen in the evening because their radiant point in the constellation Draco the Dragon is at its highest around nightfall.

According to EarthSky.org, the Draconid meteors burst out into the skies near the Draco stars of Eltanin and Rastaban.

But the good news is you can watch the meteors zip across the sky regardless of whether you spot the Draco stars or not.

Because shooting stars move across the sky in a blink of the eye, it is best to find a clear wide open area where you can observe the entire sky at once.

When the meteors burst out they will travel all in directions imaginable, so there is no need to be on the lookout for their radiant point.

The Royal Observatory said: “Make sure there are no direct sources of light in your eyes, so that you can fully adapt to the local conditions and ensure that fainter meteors become visible.

“There’s no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope; just look up with your own eyes to take in the widest possible view of the sky.”

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