HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Heads Up! Meteor Shower On The Way!

James Zahara Weather Blog

The Draconid meteor shower will sweep across our skies just after sunset Monday, October 7, 2013.

That’s right…after sunset.

Unlike most meteor showers, these will be best-seen in the evening rather than before dawn.  Also, these showers are very unpredictable.  Some years they are impressive with thousands of falling stars per hour in 1933 and 1946, and other years they are much as 10 per hour.

Get this:  Back in October 2011, people all over saw a high number of Draconid meteors despite a bright moon that night.  European observers saw over 600 meteors per hour in 2011.

Fortunately, clear skies and the thin waxing crescent moon won’t interfere with this year’s meteor display.  In fact, the moon and planets set in the southwestern sky around nightfall, serving as an awesome spectacle of the meteor show.

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The meteors are the result of tiny bits of dust and ice debris left behind by the Giacobini-Zinner comet, which circles the sun every 6.6 years. As the Earth passes through this trail of cosmic debris, the particles burn up in our atmosphere, creating the fiery trails we call falling stars.

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So, check out the northwest sky.  If you miss out on your chance tonight, you can get a peek of them the following night as well.



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