Skywatchers can enjoy two meteor showers in the month of October. The well-known Orionid meteor shower peaks near October 21 each year. But before the Orionids comes the Draconid meteor shower, peaking on October 7. This shower got its name due to its meteors appearing to trace their path back to a point near the head of the long, winding, far-northern constellation Draco, the Dragon. Slooh will host live coverage of the Draconids on October 7, 2016, so mark your calendar to join us for this event.
The Draconids occur each year in early October when the Earth passes through a stream of debris left from Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner, a periodic comet that orbits the Sun once every 6.6 years. The shower is sometimes called the Giacobinids after the comet itself.
While usually a modest meteor shower, the Draconids have flared up from time to time. In 1933 and 1946, observers reported thousands of meteors per hour, turning this shower into a meteor storm. There were also good shows in 1998, 2005, and 2011.
Most meteor showers peak well after midnight, but the Draconids are best seen between sunset and midnight when the radiant Draco is at its highest point in the sky. The meteors can appear anywhere, so just look up and wait for one to streak by. Then make your way inside and tune into the live Slooh show on October 7 to learn more about this reliable and occasionally spectacular meteor shower.