- The Met Office warns that inclement weather could ruin the annual shower tonight
- But there is still hope to see the Draconids under clear skies away from the light.
- Draconids are ‘variable’ but have given thousands of meteors in past years
Unfortunately for stargazers, unfavorable weather conditions could threaten sightings of the Draconid meteor shower tonight.
The annual meteor shower, named after the northern constellation of Draco, from which it originates, can send up to 10 shooting stars out of the UK sky every hour.
But according to the experts of the Meteorological Department, due to clouds, rain and fog, rain can be seen from the ground.
Brits have the best chance of seeing Draconids away from sources of light pollution after tonight (18:56 BST).
Meteor showers occur when Earth travels through a cloud of comet debris. In this case, the Draconid meteor shower comes from the debris of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Pictured, the night sky over Ruskey Island during the Draconids in 2018
Tips for Watching Meteor Showers
Meteor showers are best viewed on a cloudless night with a good, clear view of the stars.
Try to find somewhere with dark skies, an unobstructed horizon, and very little light pollution.
Make sure there is no direct source of light in your eyes, so that you can fully adapt to local conditions and ensure that light meteors are visible.
There is no advantage to using binoculars or binoculars; Just look up with your eyes to take in the widest possible view of the sky.
Source: Royal Observatory Greenwich
“Unfortunately it will be cloudy this evening and overnight in the UK,” Simon Partridge, senior operational meteorologist at the Met Office, told MailOnline on Friday.
‘The best of any early break in the cloud would be in the east of the Pennines and northeastern Wales, but even here there is no guarantee of a long clear spell.
‘The sky will be clear in Kent this evening (from the southeast), so there is a fair chance of seeing this event from mid-evening from here. Elsewhere, the chances are less.’
In general, the best places to see Draconids are in North America, Europe, and Asia, which shower the skies with different brightness each year.
Draconid meteors occur when Earth collides with pieces of debris shed by the periodic comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.
In the UK, optimal locations include the famous stargazing locations, also known as the three ‘Dark Sky Reserves – Snowdonia, Brecon Beacon and Exmoor National Park’.
Annie Shuttleworth at the Met Office told MailOnline earlier this week: ‘The Draconoid Shower will be visible to anyone with clear skies.
‘Those in the southern parts of England and Wales that are far from any light pollution are most likely to see showers.’
According to Shuttleworth, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be cloudy and wet, and northern Wales and northern England will be mostly cloudy, meaning vision may be obstructed in these places.
‘Anywhere to the south of a horizontal line from Aberystwyth to Norwich there may be clear spells for an hour or two of clear spells – but many in that area will be mostly cloudy,’ she said.
Meteorological Office spokesman Graham Madge also said yesterday that sky watchers in northern and western parts of Britain will be troubled by clouds and rain.
“Fog can create local problems in other areas as well.
The Draconid meteor shower takes its name from the constellation of Draco. It is best viewed in the evening, just after sunset. Meteors fly in all directions in the sky when they come
The International Space Station (ISS) is seen in the night sky of the Milky Way during the Draconid meteor shower on October 7, 2020 in Frasier Park, Calif.
Remaining meteor showers in 2021
- Draconids – October 8-9 peak
- Orionids – October 21 Peak
- Taurids – November 12 peak
- Leonids – November 17-18 peak
- Geminids – December 14 Peak
- Ursids – December 22-23 peak
The Draconid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation of Draco, which is its bright point – the point in the sky from which meteors appear.
Draco is a long and curved constellation that, in the Northern Hemisphere, is easily visible to people in the northern sky. It can be found lying above the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star.
Draconids are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere, although it is still possible to see them in the Southern Hemisphere, especially if close to the equator.
This is because the radiant point for the shower roughly coincides with the head of the constellation Draco in the northern sky.
According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the rate of meteors during the peak of the Draconid shower depends on which part of the comet’s trail the Earth’s orbit intersects in any given year.
The observatory describes draconids as ‘variable’, meaning you can never be sure what kind of light display you’ll get.
“In recent years, Draconids have not experienced any significant bursts of activity,” the Royal Observatory Greenwich said on its website.
‘However, in 1933 and 1946 the Draconids produced some of the most active performances in the 20th century.
It’s worth noting that 2011 and 2018 saw more Draconid activity than expected, so 2021 could be the year where they performed spectacularly.
The showers are named after the constellation of Draco, from which they originate in the night sky, which can be seen lying above the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star.
The National Space Center says that the Draconids typically produce five to 10 meteors an hour, but past demonstrations have been thousands per hour.
Luckily, Wednesday, October 6th was a new moon, so the moon’s light is only going to be 6 percent…