This weekend is another meteor shower; the Draconids. As always, I plan on going outside and watching for meteors. This one is great; the early evening is the best time to see it. Since the peak is at 2 am Universal time, that means about 7 pm in California. Won’t have to wake anyone up to see these meteors. This shower is a gamble, usually only a few meteors. But some years there have been as many as 600 meteors per hour. Well worth the time to look. Here’s the notice I copied into my calendar at the beginning of the year from some place on the web (can’t find the reference now.
October 7, 2012 Draconids
The radiant point for the Draconid meteor shower almost coincides with the head of the constellation Draco the Dragon in the northern sky. That’s why the Draconids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere. The Draconid shower is a real oddity, in that the radiant point stands highest in the sky as darkness falls. Unlike many meteor showers, the Draconids are more likely to fly in the evening hours than in the morning hours after midnight. This shower is usually a sleeper, producing only a handful of languid meteors per hour in most years. But watch out if the Dragon awakes! In rare instances, fiery Draco has been known to spew forth many hundreds of meteors in a single hour. With no moon to interfere during the evening hours, try watching at nightfall and early evening on October 7 and 8.
Here’s a website with lots of good information including a map of the draconids constellation. And half way down the page, there is an incredible picture of a single meteor from this shower. I would be proud if I could take a picture like that. Perhaps I’ll try to talk Bob and Kat into a night time adventure of photography and meteor watching in a dark place. Wonder how it would look from Brengle Terrace and how late we could get away with staying in the park.
So as many other people have said — lets up the dragon wakes up this year.
The best shower I ever saw was years ago in august around 1985 Decided to go to Tonopah, Nevada because it was a small town that should have no light pollution. Drove for way too many hours on a Friday night after work only to arrive at a town that had few people, but lots of casinos. Got a hotel room, drove out of town, looked at the sky, saw a few meteors, and then went to bed. May this one be better.