The Draconid Meteor Shower Peaks Friday Night. Here's How to See It

It's not the most exciting meteor shower of the year, but now is the time to head out and see the Draconids.

draconid meteor shower 2021
Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

October will feature a trio of meteor showers that are visible in the northern hemisphere, even if none of them rise to the stunning levels of the Perseids in August. 

The first of those showers arrives this week, peaking on the night of October 8 into the morning of October 9. Unfortunately, the Draconid meteor shower is not going to be as spectacular as a minor league baseball stadium's fireworks display. Though, the Draconids do have outburst years where you might see hundreds of meteors per hour. In 2021, that is not the expectation. You're going to see far fewer meteors per hour this year. 

In non-outburst years, the Draconids tend to produce about five meteors per hour, per EarthSky. You might see that if you get yourself under dark skies, far from the light pollution of cities. Fortunately, the shower lands close to the October 6 new moon, meaning you're going to avoid any light interference from the moon. 

How to See the Draconid Meteor Shower

If you’re planning to head out, you’ll want to note that the Draconids are a bit of a rarity. Most meteor showers are best seen after midnight. However, the Draconids are at their best early in the evening. EarthSky suggests that you should head out “at nightfall and early evening” to catch the shower.

Even though it's popping off early in the night, it's like other meteor showers in that you need to get under dark skies if you want to see as many meteors as possible. (And you do with this one. Since it produces so few meteors per hour, you don't want to miss any if you're going to the work of heading out into the night.) Tools like Dark Site Finder can help you find an area near you that is far from the light pollution of cities. 

It might not be the most exciting celestial display of the year, but there's a lot to see in the night sky right now. A few meteors are a welcome addition to any night of stargazing

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.