The first of two sky shows in the next nighttime period will actually by in the evening. The Draconid Meteor Shower is a special treat this October 8, as Earth passes through the debris field of the orbital path of 21P/Giacobini-Zinner comet. This was discovered in 1900, but the dust left behind is what may get caught up in the atmosphere. Draco The Dragon is the constellation to look for, especially near the head. We might also see glimmering light from the sun on the Integral Satellite. This is to the north, and the weather should cooperate for most of us.
Disclaimer: The fact that ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ was located in the ‘Isle of Berk’ has no influence on my interest in this event. 😉
How to see this?
At sunset, or soon after, position yourself with the location of the setting sun to your left. Then look straight ahead and more than halfway up.
When And Where To Look:
What makes it special is the time of day. Instead of staying up late night in the fall chill and losing sleep, this meteor shower is best seen around nightfall. Timing our central location of Baltimore, consider these times
- Sunset is 6:38PM
- Civil Twilight is 7:05 PM – When stars are visible and perhaps some meteors
- Astronomical Twilight – When it will be really dark.
What You Might See
Typically this only produces a few meteors per hour. So you might have to be patient. However, there have been times when thousands have been reported. The dust field is so small, we will not know until it happens.
If you miss this:
- The second event will be pre-dawn Friday morning with the conjunction of the crescent moon, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. I will have more on that in my next post.
- Also-The Orionids will top out on October 22.
I said the weather should cooperate for most of us. There have been clouds this afternoon, but the moisture ahead of the next weather system will try to stream in. The HRRR Model suggests a band of clouds near and south of Washington. However, the view is to the north. So you could have clouds by you, but clearing to the north of your location is what is important. Temperatures will be falling through the 60s at this point. So a sweatshirt might be appropriate if you are outside waiting.
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