7 Fun Facts About Meteors

Draconid and Taurid meteor showers to put on a show this week

Back-to-back events will give stargazers plenty to see

Two meteor showers are peaking this week in back-to-back events.

The Draconids will reach peak viewing Tuesday, October 8. 

“The Draconids meteor shower kicks off the fall meteor shower season,” said Dave Samuhel, AccuWeather astronomy blogger and meteorologist.

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It’s a minor shower, with only about 10 meteors an hour, but it has been known to light up the sky. Last year, for example, observers in Europe counted more than 140 meteors an hour, according to the International Meteor Organization.

The Draconids are best observed before midnight, making them a good meteor shower for young stargazers. 

If you can’t get outside for the Draconids, the Southern Taurids will peak Wednesday, October 9. 

Also a minor shower, there will be only about 10 meteors an hour. Unlike the Draconids, however, the Southern Taurids are much brighter.

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 “The Taurids are rich in fireballs,” the American Meteor Society states on its website, “and are often responsible for increased number of fireball reports from September through November.”

According to AccuWeather, fireballs are meteors that appear incredibly bright as they streak through the sky. They can be so bright that they can cast shadows on the ground for several seconds.

It’s best to view these showers in an area without a lot of light sources. 

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“You want to get as much sky in your field of view as possible,” Samuhel said. “My favorite approach to meteor viewing is to find a conformable lounge chair or even just a yoga mat to lie on.“

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