Draconid, Southern Taurid meteor showers will glow in October
As October moves forward, we get to see two interesting meteor showers with some moonlight.
October opens up the fall meteor shower season with the annual Draconid shower.
This interesting meteor shower will appear all week in our Arizona skies and peak on the night on Oct. 7.
Here is a finder chart for the Draconids.
The Draconid meteor shower is known to come from comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner, discovered back on Dec. 20, 1900.
The comet produces many slow fireball-type meteors, which may appear out on the northwest sky after sunset.
Here is more on the history of the Draconids.
This is one shower that actually has more activity before midnight, as the radiant is high in the sky.
In 1933 and 1946, there was a great outburst of meteors from this shower. This year, it’s difficult to predict results as a bright moon will hamper some of the view.
Once again, the shower is known for some bright and slow-moving fireballs.
The other meteor shower that is plowing into our October skies is the annual Southern Taurid meteor shower.
This meteor shower is active from Oct. 9 into early November.
With clear skies, look to the northeast after midnight for what might be a good display of bright fireballs. The Southern Taurids have a radiant that appears just below the famous group of stars, known as the Pleiades star cluster.
The meteors from this shower are from comet 2/P Encke, which has a long history of sending us some exceptionally bright fireballs!
Alert: Look to the early evening and midnight skies for what may be a few very bright fireballs from these two showers. This in spite of bright moonlight. In 1995, observers in Europe saw a bright fireball, brighter than the full moon and it produced a large meteorite.
Here is more on the Southern Taurid shower.
If you miss any of these meteor showers which may produce fireballs, you can depend on the annual Orionid meteor shower, which will peak on the evening of Oct. 20.
Look to the eastern sky around 3 a.m. MST on the morning of the 21st. Meteors will be seen coming out of the top left region of the constellation of Orion.
All Orionids are debris from the famous Halley’s Comet.
Here is a finder chart for the Orionids.
The rich history of the Orionid meteor shower is listed here.
October brings us some great meteor shower events!
To print your own monthly star chart, click here.
To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.
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