It may not be the most spectacular, but the Draconid meteor shower will be visible in the early evening Saturday and Sunday in the Northern Hemisphere.
This is in contrast to most other showers, which are best viewed between midnight and dawn, according to astronomy website EarthSky. The Draconid shower will peak during the weekend, reaching its highest point in the sky around 5 p.m. local time each night. Though it won’t be dark yet, the best viewing will still come before midnight.
The slow Draconid meteors will stem from the Draco constellation; however, there’s no need to locate or focus on the dragon – meteors will fly all over the sky, EarthSky says.
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The Draconid meteors show up annually in October, and are best seen from far-northern latitudes, including the United States, Canada, Europe and parts of Asia. They’re the result of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner debris colliding with our planet’s upper atmosphere, according to EarthSky.
It probably won’t be the most awe-inspiring cosmic show, for a few reasons.
First, the bright moon (waning gibbous) will likely make the shower tough to see with a naked eye, much like it did in August during the Perseid shower, one of the most popular displays of the year. As always, experts advise moving away from light pollution to get the best possible view.
And second, it’s not the most active shower to begin with. The American Meteor Society lists the Draconids as a Class III, a variable meteor shower, which is the second weakest of its four classifications. There are nine Class I (major) meteor showers in 2017. The Perseids were one of them, and it’s not long until the next: The Orionids will reach maximum activity Oct. 22.
“Usually, this meteor shower offers no more than a handful of languid meteors per hour, even at its peak,” EarthSky writes. However, sometimes the shower will unexpectedly offer hundreds of meteors per hour, hence the “variable” categorization by the AMS.
As far as visible cosmic events go, this August’s “awesome” solar eclipse has been a very hard act to follow.