The Draconid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend. Here's How to See It
The first meteor shower of fall is almost here.
For stargazers, fall is something like the last gasp before the plunge. It's a great time to get your cosmic fill before the weather turns frigid, and it takes something truly special to drag you out of the house at midnight to sit in a field looking up at realms beyond our own atmosphere.
The small but occasionally mighty Draconid meteor shower arrives this week, and it is conveniently peaking this weekend. The shower lasts from October 6 through October 10 and is expected to reach its peak on the night between October 8 and 9 in the US, per EarthSky.
Unlike last year, the moon is not going to be a problem this time around. While last year a full moon landed right next to the peak (obscuring many if not most of the meteors produced by the Draconids), this year stargazers will be blessed with a dimmer (only 23% illuminated) waning crescent moon. This will definitely help you catch some Draconids, which are already, by definition, not the wildest meteor shower, and they usually average 10 meteors per hour. There are instances when the Draconids have rocketed hundreds of meteors per hour, but those are rare occurrences.
You should, however, plan to be outside earlier rather than later to improve your odds. The Draconids are an oddity among meteor showers—instead of the radiant reaching its highest point around or after midnight, it is at its highest just as the sky starts to get dark, per EarthSky.
Weather, moon, and meteor shower intensity aside, there are some conditions you can actually control to make your experience better. Try to place yourself in the darkest possible location by finding the nearest Dark Site or a place with very low light pollution.