Draconid meteor shower to peak on October 8, 2023 with the Met Office predicting clear skies
The Draconid meteor shower could light up the night sky this weekend.
The predicted good weather could also help sky gazers get the best view of the meteors during the peak of the display and here’s when it’s happening.
What is the Draconid meteor shower?
Meteor showers happen when Earth passes through the debris of a comet. The momentary streaks of light are created when the particles of dust enter the Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds and burn up on arrival.
The Draconid meteor shower is generated by the debris of comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.
The rate of meteors during a shower’s peak can depend, says the Royal Observatory Greenwich, on which part of the comet’s trail the Earth orbit intersects on any given year.
While you’re likely to see around five to 10 shooting stars every hour – the best Draconids displays on record have witnessed thousands of meteors.
When will the shower peak?
The Draconid meteor shower is most active between October 6 and October 10. But its peak is expected between Sunday and Monday (October 8 and 9).
The meteors will be best seen, say experts, in the evening after nightfall.
And with the forecast for the weekend looking unseasonably warm for October with the potential for clear skies, this too could make it much easier to stop the Draconids this autumn than when compared to previous years.
Where can I see the Draconids?
Meteor showers are always best seen with a good clear view of of the stars on a night when there are also no clouds to obstruct the display.
If you want to stand a chance of seeing the meteors it’s also worth trying to find somewhere with dark skies and an unobstructed horizon – with very little light pollution.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich says the Draconid meteor shower this year happens during the last quarter of the Moon and a few days later which also helps make conditions reasonable as the meteors won’t be overshadowed from the bright light of the Moon.
And the good news is that there’s no need for binoculars or a telescope either! Providing your eyes have spent a few minutes adjusting to the dark you should just be able to look up with your own eyes – with the widest possible view of the sky – in order to see them!