Stargazers, unite! There are two meteor showers this week that will be visible at different times and places around the United States. I love a good meteor shower. There's nothing like unplugging for a night and heading out to somewhere that isn't polluted with lots of light in order to see the stars.
What's the best time to see the Draconid meteor shower?
Tuesday night, Oct. 8 might be your best shot at viewing the Draconid meteor shower, although it will be active through Thursday the 10th. Early evening, just when it gets dark, is the perfect time to take a drive out to the country, park your car, and then park yourself on the hood of your car to watch the sky.
According to Fox 59, you definitely won't have to stay up past midnight to see the Draconid meteor shower. That's my kind of meteor shower! I like to see the stars and then be in bed by 9/9:30 at the latest.
The only problem that might impede your meteor shower viewing is that there is a full moon on Oct. 13. So, the moon will be very bright in the days leading up to these events, possibly obscuring our view of the meteors. This is especially true if you are attempting to view them from an urban area where there are other forms of light pollution.
The Draconid meteor shower got its name because "the meteors appear to be coming from the direction of the constellation Draco the Dragon." It's created by debris from the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Who knew debris could be so beautiful?
When can we see the South Taurid meteor shower?
There's another meteor shower, the South Taurid, that is expected to peak either on the nights of Oct. 9 and 10 or on Nov. 6. Those are the two options. So yes, that does mean that the South Taurid meteor shower will last through November.
The full moon might be a problem now, but in a couple weeks, when we're back to a new moon, it will be much easier to see the meteors from the South Taurid shower, so that's a good thing!
If you don't happen to catch either of those, never fear! It seems to be meteor shower season around these parts. The Orionids are happening toward the end of October, then the Northern Taurids and Leonids will be visible in November.
What is the best way to view a meteor shower?
According to Fox 59, "the best way to view the meteor shower is by sitting in a reclining lawn chair or lying on your back and looking up at the sky with a wide view."
You're not going to get a complaint from me about that! That sounds like a dream evening! Bring some picnic blankets and hot chocolate, and you've got yourself a perfect date night.
You don't need any special equipment, but definitely try to get as far away from any artificial light as possible. And enjoy yourself!