Tonight is the night when the Draconid meteor shower touches down on Earth and we are STOKED about it. These meteors can best be seen when the constellation Draco the Dragon is highest in the northern sky which, lucky for us, is any time between sundown and midnight. That gives you the entire night to observe space at it’s best.
This year, experts predict the annual Draconid will produce a handful of shooting stars per hour. Compared to Perseid, one of the flashiest showers of the year, that isn’t a lot of meteors. But nevertheless, Draconid will not disappoint you. Observers of the 1933 and 1946 Draconids saw thousands of meteors per hour, so who knows. The cosmos might surprise us.
The best part about the Draconid meteor shower is the fact that you don’t have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to witness it like you would with other showers. The show commences right at dusk so there’s no way you can miss it. Now, that’s something to get amped about!
Be the cool kid at the Friday night party and announce to the crowd, “Guys! Let’s take advantage of being located in the Northern Hemisphere and check out the totally rad natural phenomenon occurring in the night sky!” You then turn to your friend in the back of the room, “Frank! Turn off the artificial lights so we can better see the meteors burning up in Earth’s atmosphere!” (Frank always has your back.)
And if you really want to impress your fellow party-goers, try to locate Draco the Dragon winding itself around Polaris, the North Star (between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper).
Explain to them that the shower is called “Draconid” because it was once believed that the stars were shooting from Draco’s mouth, but in actuality, the meteors are just debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which is currently passing by Earth.
But no matter where you are tonight, as long as you have a view of the darkened sky, you are ready to go. No need for telescopes or binoculars. Maybe get comfy on a picnic blanket. Bring some snacks to share with friends. Or. if you’re in a bind, check out Slooh where you can watch the shower via livestream.