Best moment to glimpse spectacular celestial fireworks from Draconid meteor shower


Skygazers will be hoping for a clear night on Saturday to see spectacular celestial fireworks that will light up the sky from a meteor shower.

Brits heading outside will be able to see the phenomenon caused by the Earth passing through a cloud of cometary dust over the coming days.

But the Draconid meteor shower, also known as the Giacobinids, will peak on Saturday in the afternoon with the best time to see it will be in the evening, just after sunset.

Named after the constellation of Draco the dragon, the Draconids take place every year and are one of the two meteor showers to light up the skies in October.

The streaks spawn from the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, which orbits around the sun for six-and-a-half years.

Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said that a full moon will make it harder to see the meteors.

She said: “The Draconids are a short-lived meteor shower that is active from 6-10 October and is expected to peak at around 2pm UK time with a maximum rate of 10 meteors per hour.

“Draco will be at its highest point in the sky after sunset on the 8th, in the direction of North, however, the full moon will also be up, brightening up the sky and making it hard to spot fainter meteors.”

The meteor shower will be visible with the naked eye, but skygazers will need to let their eyes adjust to the darkness and any background light will make it harder to see.

Ms de Sales Marques continued: “Like with any other skywatching activity, make sure to have an unobstructed view of the sky, as far away from sources of light as possible.

“Remember to dress warmly now that the evenings are colder and wait about 15-20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark before looking out for meteors.”

The Draconids will remain visible until October 10 and a second meteor shower, the Orionids, will also take place later this month, peaking on October 21.