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When and where can meteors be seen?

When and where can meteors be seen?

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In October, you can see shooting Draconid stars in the night sky. © Matthias Balk/DPA

The history of the Draconids is marked by spectacular streams of meteors. 2023 will be less active, but observing conditions are ideal.

MUNICH – Dracids are meteor showers that can be very impressive. In 1933 and 1946 several thousand meteors per hour were recorded, while in 1985 and 1998 several hundred Dracula meteors per hour were counted, and in 2005 40 meteors per hour were still being seen.

Despite these impressive numbers, Dracons are usually weak and rather inconspicuous meteor showers. For 2023, the International Meteor Organization (IMO) forecasts in its annual meteor shower calendar a maximum of just ten meteors per hour under ideal conditions.

family name: Draconids (Giacobiniaceae)
He writes: Shooting star stream
Origin culprit: 21B/Giacobini-Zinner
activity: 6th to 10th October
Maximum: October 9
Shooting stars per hour 10 (in ideal conditions)
Source: International Maritime Organization

Draconid shooting stars are favorable in 2023

However, the maximum for draconides is appropriate this year: it is October 9, a day when only about a quarter of the moon is illuminated and does not rise until after 1 a.m. This month’s full moon won’t occur until October 28 – and then a partial lunar eclipse may also be observed.

This provides ideal conditions for observing Draconid stars, as the Draconid constellation, from the head of which meteors appear to stream, is already high in the northwest in the sky after sunset. It can be found above the constellation Ursa Major and to the left of the constellation Ursa Minor.

Draconid meteorites are formed by comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner

The Draconid meteor shower occurs because Earth passes through a streak of dust in its orbit around the Sun every year, left behind by Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner in space. When dust particles enter Earth’s atmosphere, they create striking trails in the sky that we perceive as shooting stars. Draconids, also called giacobeneids after their parent comet, are only active a few days a year. It is visible from approximately October 6 to 10, and is characterized by slow, often yellow, faint meteors.

If you want to observe the Draconid meteors and other meteor showers that are active in the fall, you should look for a place that is as dark as possible with a good all-around view of the sky. It’s a good idea to get comfortable there with a lounge chair or blanket, as you can see most meteors when you look straight up. Patience is also required when searching for meteorites. To prepare for the cold fall temperatures, you should have warm clothes and a hot drink.

Watching the shooting star: Aid is not helping

Aids such as a telescope or binoculars are not necessary when observing meteors, and can even be a hindrance: only those who can see the largest possible portion of the sky at the same time will be able to see many meteors. In October there are also other celestial phenomena worth seeing. (unpaid bill)

Automated assistance was used in writing this article by the editorial team. The article was carefully examined by editor Tanya Banner before publication.