What is it, when is it and where can I see the Draconid meteor shower this year?

The Draconid meteor shower will peak 8th October, best seen in the evening

What is the Draconid meteor shower?

The Draconid meteor shower tends to be a less active meteor shower and occurs in October in the Northern hemisphere. 

Meteor showers are caused when the Earth travels through a cloud of cometary debris. In this case, the Draconid meteor shower comes from the debris of comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.

The rate of meteors during the shower's peak depend upon which part of the comet's trail the Earth orbit intersects on any given year. In recent years, the Draconids have not produced any particular outbursts in activity. However, in 1933 and 1946 the Draconids produced some of the most active displays in the 20th Century.

Find out the difference between an asteroid, a comet, a meteor, and a meteorite.



When is the Draconid meteor shower?

SHOWER NAME

DATE OF MAXIMUM

NORMAL LIMITS

RATE/HOUR

DESCRIPTION

Draconids

Oct 8

Oct 2-16

~10

Associated with comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.

Find out more about other meteors and meteorites around the year

What time is best to see the Draconid meteor shower?

While most other meteor showers are best seen in the early hours, the Draconids are best seen in the evening, after nightfall.

Where can I see the Draconid meteor shower?

Meteor showers are best seen with a good, clear view of the stars on a night with no clouds. Try to find somewhere with dark skies, an unobstructed horizon and very little light pollution

Make sure there are no direct sources of light in your eyes, so that you can fully adapt to the local conditions and ensure that fainter meteors become visible. There’s no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope; just look up with your own eyes to take in the widest possible view of the sky.

Draconid facts

Image of Draco constellation
  • The beautiful streaks we see in the night sky can actually be caused by particles as small as a grain of sand!

 

  • If you trace the path that the meteors take, they seem to originate from a point in the constellation of Draco - hence the name.

 

  • The Draconids are most visible in the evening because the shower's radiant point in the Draco constellation is highest in the sky at nightfall.

 

  • The Draconids are sometimes known as the Giacobinids, named after Michel Giacobini who discovered the comet 21 P/Giacobini-Zinner from which the meteors come.