Draconids Meteor Shower Peaks Tuesday Evening
Out of all of the meteor showers that we see every year, the Draconids are not high on the list for a "must-see" event. However in years past… it has been.
The Draconids meteor shower radiates from near the constellation Draco. Draco the dragon. It’s in the northwestern sky. It'll peak in the evening on October 8, but you can see these meteors until the tenth. It’s not expected to be a great meteor shower this year. We can expect to see around 5 meteors per hour. But in some years in the past - it's been a lot better.
In 1933 and 1946, astronomers reported seeing thousands of meteors. As recent as 2011, European observers reported over 600 meteors per hour. So why the inconsistency?
This meteor shower is the result of the earth passing through or near the path of comet 21p. Years in which the earth passed by the tail end of this comet, we tend to see a lot more meteors. Years where we pass through the path and the actual comet is further away… not so much. This year we're also having to compete with the moon as well which will be near 2/3 full the night of the eighth.
But the Draconids are known to give some larger meteors that we're able to see. Those meteors will appear brighter than some of the others that we see throughout the year. The Perseid meteor shower that we see in august shows a lot of meteors per hour, but they tend to be smaller because we see so many of them.
So normally not one of the best meteor showers but in years past, it's been really good. Unfortunately the next time we'll be passing closer to the comet itself and through its path... It's going to be a while. Not until the year 2090.