Though August and December host two of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year – the Perseids and the Geminids – sky watchers can see several shows this month.
The fun begins on October 7, when the Draconid shower, also known as the Giacobinids, peaks. Though generally a moderate shower at best, the Draconids occasionally burst forth with a powerful display. With a waning crescent Moon that night, conditions will be good for viewing, so there’s no reason not to take a gamble and watch. Look to the northwest, near Polaris, the North Star, to find the constellation Draco, the Dragon, which is the radiant of this shower.
A few nights later, on October 10, the Southern Taurids will peak. The Moon will be even smaller that night, making viewing conditions for this minor shower near ideal. Look toward the southeast, near the constellation Taurus.
Another minor shower, the Epsilon Geminids, peaks on October 18, at which time a waxing crescent Moon will still be small enough for good viewing. Look to the northeast.
Finally, on October 21, the Orionid meteor shower will peak. This will be a very favorable year for this powerful shower originating near the constellation Orion, which lies in the southeastern sky at this time of year.
Because these four showers happen so close to one another, there is great potential for overlap, and viewers may get to enjoy shooting stars from more than one display at a time.
Happy sky watching!