The often times prolific, but somewhat unpredictable, Draconid meteor shower is almost here — next Monday, on the night of October 7, 2013, the Draconids are expected to reach their peak rate for the year, sometime around nightfall for those in mid and northern latitudes. October 8 should also be a good night to watch for meteors as well.
What the peak rate will actually be this year, is, as always with this meteor shower, rather unpredictable. But it’ll be a good year for watching, regardless of the actual number of meteors, as the Moon will be in one of its darker phases (thin waxing crescent). Peak rates for this shower range from anywhere around 10 meteors an hour, to literally thousands of meteors of an hour — as was the case during the 1933 and 1946 showers. Just in 2011, though, observers in Europe were able to see over 600 meteors an hour, in spite of a very bright Moon being present at the time. And in 2012
As stated before, and in contrast to most other major meteor showers, the best time to watch for these is sometime around nightfall, so there really isn’t much of an excuse to not make at least a couple of minutes for these. Just remember, the darker the skies the better — if you can make you’re way out into a rural area without much light pollution that is ideal. A couple of other tips as well: Getting comfortable with a reclining chair be warm clothes (if necessary in your climate) helps a great deal. As does warm coffee or chocolate. 🙂
For more information of this years other great meteor showers see: Meteor Showers 2013 Dates and Times, Geminids, Leonids, Orionids, Draconids, Urids, Etc
The meteor shower is named after the constellation from which its meteors appear to be originating, in this case Draco the Dragon. The meteor showers also goes by the name of the Giacobinids, after the discoverer of the comet that spawned the shower, Michel Giacobini.
Image Credit: Draconids via Flickr CC