Draconid meteor shower to dazzle in peak on Oct. 8
LOS ANGELES - Stargazers, grab your binoculars: The annual Draconid meteor shower will peak Friday evening and is expected to light up the night sky.
According to NASA, the Draconid meteors are caused when Earth collides with bits of debris shed by periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner (which is why this shower used to be called the Giacobinids).
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Most meteors in annual showers are named for the constellation from which they appear to radiate, EarthSky said. In this case: Draco the Dragon.
According to EarthSky, the Draconid meteor shower is considered a short-lived event and is expected to peak on Oct. 8. It's also not overly active, with about five to 10 meteors per hour.
"In general, the Draconids aren’t a rich shower, unless their parent comet is nearby," EarthSky explained. "As a wise person once said, meteor showers are like fishing. You go, and sometimes you catch something."
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Even still, on rare occasions, this shower has been known to rain down hundreds or even thousands of meteors in an hour.
Fortunately, the waxing crescent moon sets before nightfall and won’t hinder this year’s Draconid shower.
How to watch Draconid meteor shower
The shower will peak on Oct. 8 (Friday evening), meaning viewing at the time will be the best opportunity to observe the meteors. But you can begin seeing meteors during its active period beginning Oct. 6 and lasting through Oct. 10.
The Draconids are best viewed in the evening, in a dark open sky away from city or street lights.
"The Draconid shower is a real oddity, in that the radiant point stands highest in the sky as darkness falls. That means that, unlike many meteor showers, more Draconids are likely to fly in the evening hours than in the morning hours after midnight.," EarthSky continued.
This meteor shower also favors Earth’s Northern Hemisphere for viewing.
Keep in mind that temperatures on October nights can get chilly in North America, so be prepared for cooler weather and give yourself at least one hour of viewing time if you can.