Draconids Meteor Shower

October 4, 2020

The Draconids Meteor Shower October 2020!

The month of October sees three meteor showers peak.  The first of these is The Draconids.  The peak of the shower is on the night of 7th October 2020.  I always feel that although we only expect around 10 meteors an hour even at the peak of this shower, it is the best one we show on our tour.

meteor shower in the starry night sky

The main reason for me thinking this is that it actually starts to peak at around sunset.  In turn, by the time we start stargazing it is already in full swing.  In comparison, nearly every other meteor shower peaks in the early hours of the morning usually at an ungodly hour of 2 or 3 am.  So although a week before any shower we can see a usually increased number of shooting stars, this one for me is the best.

comets tenerife
Shooting stars courtesy of Lapsus Temporis

 

So just exactly what is a shooting star?  Most nights we will catch one or two in the Night Sky of Tenerife.  Despite what you might think. mostly the shooting stars we see are only about the size of a grain of sand. I call them space dust.  These grains of dust are hitting our atmosphere around 60KM’s above our heads and can be travelling at speeds of up to 80,000MPH

The friction that is caused when hitting our atmosphere at these speeds is what makes them burn up and leave pretty trails for us to see whiz across the night sky.  You still have to be lucky to see one though as if I see one by the time I point it out it will generally be gone!

So what about the Annual Meteor Showers?  Well they get their names from the constellations from which they appear to radiate.  I say appear because remember they are only hitting our atmosphere at 60KM’s above our heads.  The stars from which they radiate are many Light Years away from us.  But from our perception this is what we see from Earth.

So Draconids gets its name as the main body of shooting stars appears to radiate from Draco the Dragon, the protectorate of the little bear!  The Draconids meteor shower is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner, which was first discovered in 1900.

 

Meteor Photography
Watching and photographing meteors.

The second quarter moon will ensure dark skies in the early evening for what should be a good show.  Best viewing will be in the early evening from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Draco but can appear anywhere in the sky.

So why not join us this week for a Star Safari and see it for yourselves.

For now this is Kieran saying by to you all, unless you are a member of our new Moon Light Members Club  and have access to exclusive content and our incredible members offers then please keep reading….

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