Share

Draconid Meteor Shower 2013: What You Need to Know

By: By Michele Berger
Published: October 8, 2013

If you’re outside this evening and the sky is clear, look up. You could see a dragon.

Draco the Dragon, to be precise. And no, it has nothing to do with the character from Harry Potter. Rather, it's the Draconid meteor shower, which peaks at nightfall — not in the middle of the night, like some other night-sky offerings we’ve recently recommended — and it radiates from the dragon’s head, according to EarthSky.

If you can’t find Draco the constellation, never fear. “These meteors fly every which way through the starry sky,” EarthSky reports. “Simply find a dark, open sky away from artificial lights. Plan to spend a few hours lounging comfortably under the stars.” If you can, point your feet north or northwest to view the shower, which was also visible last night.

(MORE: Stars Like You’ve Never Seen

Even at its peak, this shower likely won’t offer dozens of meteors. “The Draconids can be lazy,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Some years, stargazers notice as few as three or four shooting stars an hour. If Earth hits a thicker cloud of dust, however, there’s a better show.”

In 1933 and 1946, the shower produced thousands of meteors an hour. Two years ago, 2011, was also a good year, with some observers reporting seeing up to 600 meteors per hour. “No one is expecting that this year,” notes EarthSky. But if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you may see nothing at all. (Sorry, depending on where you live, the dragon may not actually rise above the horizon.)

“How many Draconid meteors will you be able count in the moon-free skies?” EarthSky asks. “No one expects a Draconid storm this year, but one can always hope!”

MORE: Highlights from the Perseid Meteor Shower

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky on Aug. 12, 2013, in Cathedral Gorge State Park, Nevada. The annual display, known as the Perseid shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky, is a result of Earth's orbit passing through debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


Featured Blogs

Earth Has Its 4th Warmest March on Record; Weekend Severe Weather Outbreak Coming

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 23, 2014

March 2014 was the globe's 4th warmest March since records began in 1880. March 2014 global land temperatures were the 5th warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were also the 5th warmest. The year-to-date January - March period has been the 7th warmest on record for the globe. One billion-dollar weather-related disaster hit the Earth during March 2014: Southeastern Brazil's worst drought in 50 years, which has cost at least $4.3 billion so far this year.

March 2014 4th Warmest Globally

By Christopher C. Burt
April 22, 2014

NOAA released its global March 2014 summary today (April 22nd) which stated that it was the 4th warmest March on record over global land and ocean surfaces since 1880. The global average temperature for the month was 12.3°C (54.1°F) which was 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average.

I am a Failed Father

By Shaun Tanner
April 17, 2014

Being a father is very hard! I know, I sound like a whiner, but I felt especially bad this week when I caused my daughter to miss the lunar eclipse.

Polar Vortex, Global Warming, and Cold Weather

By Stu Ostro
January 10, 2014

Some thoughts about the recent viral meme(s).

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.

Astronomical VS. Meteorological Winter

By Tom Niziol
March 1, 2013